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Out with the old – “bench to bedside” – and in with the new – “community-to-bench.”
In a new commentary published in the journal EBioMedicine, Kathy Tossas, PhD, MS, co-director of the Office of Community Engaged Research and Implementation Science at the University of Illinois Cancer Center, writes that a “community to bench” model, such as that employed at the UI Cancer Center championed by former director Robert Winn, is more effective in solving the “disconnect between our science and the community.”
“The community to bench cyclical model can be quite valuable to conducting research, with communities as the bedrock from which high-quality, community-relevant data are derived to inform both discovery science and clinical trials,” Tossas said.
Health disparities exist in many communities even though there have been successful scientific discoveries at academic cancer centers, Tossas said. Factors such as poverty, environments causing obesity, and social injustice also contribute to the inequalities. Incorporating the “community to bench” model will bring valuable information directly from the community to assist scientists conducting bench/translational research.
Co-authors on the paper include Karriem Watson, DHS, MPH, MS and John H. Stewart IV, UI Cancer Center; Graham Colditz, DrPH, MD, MPH, Washington University in St. Louis; Charles Thomas, MD, Oregon Health Sciences University Knight Cancer Institute; and Robert Winn, MD, Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center