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Translational Research Unit offers infrastructure for MCW, VA research collaboration

May 16 2013 College News - Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) partners have developed four Translational Research Units (TRUs) to provide resources and advanced technology for researchers and collaborators wishing to conduct collaborative, translational studies. These include an adult TRU, a pediatric TRU, a community TRU, and the VA TRU, located at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center.

The VA TRU opened its doors in April 2009 under the direction of Ann K. Rosenthal, MD, Will & Cava Ross Professor of Medicine. It occupies three large multi-purpose rooms and 1,200 square feet of space on the 5th floor of the main hospital building. These rooms are fully equipped for multiple purposes and contain exam tables, a hospital bed, infusion chairs, and several computer stations. There is room for large equipment, such as exercise equipment or special machines necessary for some protocols.

Joan Banks, RN, staffs this facility and assists with research procedures and in obtaining informed consent. While the VA TRU focuses on the medical issues effecting geriatric and veteran populations – such as injuries/rehabilitation, metabolic syndrome, spinal cord injury, and prostate disease – it has hosted a wide range of protocols. Currently, 11 studies are actively using the VA TRU.  Several of the ongoing studies involve collaborative rehabilitation programs between MCW and Marquette University and involve Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans. 

With the continuing combat and the increasing prevalence of limb loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, and brain injuries added to the complex medical needs of the aging veteran population, the VA TRU serves a critical need to expand rehabilitation efforts and facilitate translation of basic research to advances in patient care.

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