Letter From the JCTS Editor: Tipping Points and Clear Achievements
In my youth September was clearly a fall month with leaves turning and the first cold spells becoming more common. Not so anymore, we are still deep into summer and even here in New England, the weather is balmy. Concerns about irreversible climate changes remain and for those with a brave heart I encourage a somewhat gloomy reading in a recent issue of Science (Armstrong McKay et al, Science 377, 1171 (2022)) where a team of scientists have modelled multiple climate tipping points. These points represent key global system components where a small change would result in an irreversible series of events with a global warming exceeding 1.5°C. Although far from what we think of as clinical and translational science, each of these events would likely have substantial impact on society as a whole with unpredictable downstream effects on health care and in particular on vulnerable populations. A timeline of the risk for these events is provided, with some being uncomfortably close and others more distant. For those who may want the highlights, the article is commented in the news section on p.1135. Although perhaps not the most cheerful reading, the article provides measurable outcomes that in the long run helps to make changes concrete for non-experts.
We have recently had the opportunity to highlight another important tipping point. As part of our partnership with the Clinical Research Forum (CR Forum), JCTS has published several interviews with the CR Forum award recipients in 2021. Two of these awards were given in appreciation of the development of COVID-19 vaccines, which without doubt represented a tipping point in our handling of the COVID pandemic. Dr. William Gruber, Senior Vice President for Clinical Research and Development at Pfizer, who led the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine development and Dr. Brett Leav, Vice President for Development of Public Health Vaccines at Moderna who led their vaccine development were interviewed representing their respective teams. In addition, interviews with recipients of the CRF Top Ten awards have been published. Dr. Judith Hochman, Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Science at NY Langone and Dr. David Maron, Director of Preventive Cardiology at Stanford University, both led the ISCHEMIA study that examined the impact of adding invasive procedures to guideline-directed medical therapy in patients with stable coronary heart disease, and Dr. Che-yuan Hsu, Professor and Chief of the Division of Nephrology at the University of California, San Francisco, led the CRIC study to determine whether the glomerular filtration rate, a key clinical parameter, could be estimated without considering race, were among the awardees. Additional interviews are forthcoming and it is interesting to learn about career pathways of the interviewees and how they and their teams developed their respective projects. There is a strong emphasis on team science and collaborations in developing these exciting projects underscoring the need for a spectrum of skills to translate discoveries into practice. We look forward to a continued partnership with CR Forum to highlight future advances.
In addition to these publications, there have been many interesting articles published in JCTS recently, covering the full spectrum of clinical and translational science. I encourage everyone to regularly look at our website for accepted manuscripts as there are many papers forthcoming. It is very encouraging that we are seeing a high level of interest in JCTS with a steady level of submissions, and we look forward to another record year. We wish you all a healthy and exciting fall and look forward to seeing more results of your hard work in JCTS.
Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (JCTS)
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