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Mallinckrodt General Clinical Research Center

The Mallinckrodt MGH General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) is a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital. It is located in Boston, Massachusetts, with satellites in Cambridge, MA and Charlestown, MA. It is supported by a GCRC grant through the National Institutes of Health.

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The MGH GCRC began as Ward IV in 1925. It was the second clinical research center in the United States. The impetus for its founding came from Joseph Aub, who was supported by James Howard Means and David Linn Edsall, Dean of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The ward began as just two inpatient beds, accommodating mostly metabolic and endocrine research. Many doctors conducted research on the ward, including endocrinologist Fuller Albright.

In the 1940s, Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr., head of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Company and a college friend of Albright's, contributed enough money to fund three additional inpatient beds on the unit. He also started an endowment fund to ensure the continuous operation of Ward IV. As a result of this fund, Ward IV was renovated to put two bed in each of the five inpatient rooms, leading to a total of ten beds. A laboratory, metabolic kitchen, and patient recreation space were also added. In 1949, Ward IV was renamed "Mallinckrodt Ward IV" in honor of Mallinckrodt's contributions.

By the 1950s, Ward IV researchers had made many significant contributions. In 1957, Means published a book detailing the ward's history, entitled "Ward 4".

In 1978, Ward IV became a GCRC supported by the NIH. In the 1980s, the MGH GCRC moved from its previous location on the first floor of the Bulfinch building to its current location on the thirteenth floor of the White building. Facilities include both inpatient and outpatient rooms, expanded space for staff, a core laboratory, a metabolic kitchen, and an outdoor deck for both patients and staff.

The 2000s were a time of great change for the MGH GCRC. The space in the White building was renovated. The MGH GCRC acquired two new satellites, the Clinical Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Biomedical Imaging Core at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The MGH GCRC was one of the first GCRCs in the nation to have an imaging facility, and remains one of the only few with this technology. The decade will bring more changes for the MGH GCRC, as the NIH recently announced it will be eliminating the GCRC grant in favor of a Clinical and Translational Science Award, or CTSA. The new grant will bring together the GCRCs from MGH, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children's Hospital Boston, and their respective satellites under the umbrella of Harvard Medical School.

Medical Contributions

In the 1920s, Ward IV's first study was published by Aub and Bauer-- the first ever physiological and therapeutic study of lead poisoning.

In the 1930s, Albright, called the "father of modern endocrinology", first described and treated hyperparathyroidism.

During World War II, Ward IV was used mostly for metabolic studies of bone and wound healing through the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Also in the 1940s, Hertz first used radioactive iodine treatment for Graves Disease. This has since become the most common treatment for the disease in the United States.

In the 1950s, Alexander Leaf and Frederick Bartter first described the syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone secretion, or SIADH.
Much research on calcium metabolism was done during the 1960s.

In the 1970s, Edgar Haber first used antibodies to treat digitalis toxicity. JT Potts described the physiology and clinical role of calcitonin.

In the 1980s, William Crowley first used GnRH agonist treatment for central precocious puberty. This treatment is still the most effective for the disorder. Ann Klibanski and Ridgway studied the glycoprotein secretion of pituitary tumors. David Nathan and Blackshear first treated type I and type II diabetes mellitus with an implantable insulin pump.

The 1990s were an explosion of research at the MGH GCRC. In the early 1990s, Mankin used replacement therapy for Gaucher's Disease. Robert Neer began researching parathyroid hormone injections as means to prevent osteoperosis after menopause. In the late 1990s, Hans Breiter used fMRI technology to show how specific areas of the human brain react to cocaine and cocaine cravings. Klibanski used rhIGF-1 to treat bone loss among people with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. Janet Hall and William Crowley used pulsatile GnRH to induce ovulation in women with idiopathic hypogonadotropism.

There have been several notable discoveries since the year 2000. Matthew Smith discovered an alternative way of blocking hormone activity in prostate cancer patients, with fewer side effects and improved bone density. Stephen Grinspoon treated HIV lipodystrophy and associated metabolic syndrome with insulin-sensitizing agents. Enrico Cagliero and David Nathan used islet cell transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus who were already receiving a kidney transplant.


  • [ GCRC's 80th Birthday (2006)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mallinckrodt_General_Clinical_Research_Center". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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