VTCRI expansion could allow for the next big medical breakthrough


ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – A planned expansion at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute could greatly impact the health industry worldwide.

Not only will the growth provide $400 million in annual economic benefits to the area, it will also double the amount of research being done.

VTCRIWhen talking about the expansion, many may think it means more doctors, nurses and treatment providers, but the team at VTCRI says it’s bigger than that.

“This new building is much more than bricks and mortar,” said Dr. Michael Friedlander, the executive director of VTCRI and Vice President for Health VTCRISciences and Technology at Virginia Tech.

It’s the research and medical breakthroughs these scientists make inside these labs, like the work of Dr. Robert Gourdie.

“One of the drugs that was invented in my laboratory has just been shown in phase two clinical trials to halve the healing times of diabetic foot ulcers and leg ulcers,” explained Gourdie.

Chronic wounds that are hard to heal and can be deadly to diabetics. Work that’s changing the way these injuries are treated.

Friedlander said the expansion will bring on board more graduate students, researchers, faculty and scientists like Gourdie who will collaborate on changing health care as we know it.

“You just feel it as you walk down the halls. People who have different perspectives and backgrounds working together. That’s hard to quantify. That’s hard to measure. But I’ve seen it. I’ve worked in that type of environment. When you have it you know you have it and it makes a difference,” Friedlander said.

Already working to make a difference, Gourdie said the method of medical discovery is much different in 2016.

“The old way of doing research was having one great scientist who discovered something new and did something wonderful,” Gourdie said.

He said  today’s research has evolved, requiring the collaboration of many scientists working together. That is exactly what this expansion will provide.

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