The Hallmark of Academic Centers is a triangulation of patient care, education and research. Pakistan with a nearly 180 million population is the sixth most populous nation in the world ,but its medical research productivity continues to significantly lag behind international benchmarks. A plenary session paper presented at the First International Conference on Evidence Based HealthCare revealed that compared with an average of four Canadian physicians represented by a peer-reviewed PubMed listed publication, an estimated 95 Pakistani physicians on the average produced one PubMed listed peer-reviewed manuscript in 2011(ref:Quadri,KHM, EBHC, New Delhi, 2012).Our National health indicators such as infant and maternal mortality rates are some of the poorest in the world.(ref. WHO).
Translational research drives the evolution of new drugs and devices from in-vitro and bench studies through animal studies and Phase 1-1V trials and impacts quality and longevity of life and ultimately the health and productivity of communities and nations. This journey of discovery and innovation is rapidly transforming the concept of Personalized Medicine into a core 21st century reality and a key patient expectation. From genome wide association studies leading to disease prediction and prevention , genomics, proteomics and metabolomics now drives pharmacogenomics, incorporating targeted drugs and biologics development and delivery .
Regenerative Medicine leading to synthesis of tissues and organ systems has responded to challenges in organ transplantation and immune tolerance. Innovations in biomedically engineered devices, simulations and robotic Medicine have been translated into minimally invasive, previously unchartered highly precise and safer curative or ablative interventions.
Shifa International Hospital and the component faculties of Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University Health Sciences, represented by Shifa Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Biotechnology and Physical Therapy located in the serene and lush green environment abetting the Margalla Hills leading into the Karakorum mountain range, have made a remarkable impact in healthcare quality , delivery and academic curricula development and training within a short span of the past two decades . This impact has been nationally and internationally recognized.
Shifa International Hospital started as a private quality driven , healthcare facility in 1993. Academic Medicine took its roots in 1998 with the stepwise opening of the now reputable, Shifa College of Medicine and Shifa College of Nursing. Shifa International Hospital Postgraduate Medical Education department currently offers eighteen fully accredited and competitive Residency and Fellowship programs leading to FCPS certification . We are thus consciously and responsibly shaping the future human workforce that shall continue to serve Pakistan and International healthcare needs.
Although Shifa has had a robust Institutional Review Board for the past fifteen years and a number of high quality articles have been published in high impact factor journals, representing both bench and clinical work in addition to medical education research, the healthcare leadership role has now made it incumbent upon Shifa to accelerate its progress and to benchmark likewise with leading international academic centers in T1 and T2 translational research and to step in to fill the significant national void.
Simultaneously, we are embarking upon a mission to establish a custom built clinical trials unit and a state of the art research tower, housing at the ground floor level, Shifa Community HealthOutcomes Research Unit ( SCHORU) with Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Evidence Based Health Care and Bioethics divisions
Our endeavor is to invest in capacity building for conducting high quality trials , well recognized as the major impediment to centers worldwide, stepping in to and assuming partnership roles, opening up due to ‘globalization’ of clinical trials .
The second floor shall be a dedicated Shifa Metabolic Medicine Research unit (SMMRU)offering a day metabolic bay, body fluid sample processing labs, a pharmacy storage and refrigeration area for investigationals drugs, flowcytometry and gas chromatography and HPLC.
The third floor shall be a Shifa Simulation /Device innovation/Robotics and Regenerative Medicine unit(SSDRRMU). It shall additionally house computational cell biology, physiological Medicine, computational molecular Medicine, Biologic fluid dynamics modeling in addition to data modeling.
The fourth floor shall house Shifa Translational Science unit (STSU) housing Bioinformatics, Biosafety Level 2/3 lab, Omics lab(genonomics, proteomics, metabolomics), cell culture lab, cord blood and stem cell core facility, real-time PCR and microscopy.
The fifth floor shall house the Shifa Global Clinical Trials Collaborative Unit(SGCTCU). This shall offer site offices to partners in collaborative research projects from both Investigator initiated international sites, Universities and health care facilities, industry, Contract research organizations on a time-limited or long term agreements. The goal is to promote cost-effective global multicenter trials and scholarship in research and to entranch Pakistan as a leading international hub of translational research.
A separate offsite agreement with Institutes of Veterinary Sciences for medium and large size Animal lab based research is envisaged for preclinical studies