Mallinckrodt General Clinical Research Center
The Mallinckrodt MGH General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) is a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital is a teaching hospital and biomedical research facility in the West End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts...

. 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
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...



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
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

. 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
Mallinckrodt is a set of pharmaceutical, chemical, imaging, and respiratory equipment suppliers based in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. Founded in 1867 when the Mallinckrodt brothers formed G. Mallinckrodt & Company to manufacture pharmaceutical chemicals, Mallinckrodt was purchased by Tyco...

 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
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 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
Clinical and Translational Science Award
Clinical and Translational Science Award is a type of U.S. federal grant administered by the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health. The CTSA program began in October 2006 with a consortium of 12 academic health centers. When the program is fully...

, or CTSA. The new grant will bring together the GCRCs from MGH, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital is the largest hospital of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston, Massachusetts. It is directly adjacent to Harvard Medical School of which it is the second largest teaching affiliate with 793 beds...

, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts is a major flagship teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. It was formed out of the 1996 merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital...

, Children's Hospital Boston
Children's Hospital Boston
Children's Hospital Boston is a 396-licensed bed children's hospital in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, Massachusetts.At 300 Longwood Avenue, Children's is adjacent both to its teaching affiliate, Harvard Medical School, and to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute...

, and their respective satellites under the umbrella of Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....


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
Lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems...


In the 1930s, Albright, called the "father of modern endocrinology", first described and treated hyperparathyroidism
Hyperparathyroidism is overactivity of the parathyroid glands resulting in excess production of parathyroid hormone . The parathyroid hormone regulates calcium and phosphate levels and helps to maintain these levels...


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Ward IV was used mostly for metabolic studies of bone and wound healing through the Office of Scientific Research and Development
Office of Scientific Research and Development
The Office of Scientific Research and Development was an agency of the United States federal government created to coordinate scientific research for military purposes during World War II. Arrangements were made for its creation during May 1941, and it was created formally by on June 28, 1941...

. 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 Frederic 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
Edgar Haber
Edgar Haber , was a research physician specializing in cardiology, immunology, and molecular biology. He was, at times, Chief of Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Higgins Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, President of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research...

 first used antibodies to treat digitalis
Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials that are commonly called foxgloves. This genus was traditionally placed in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae, but recent reviews of phylogenetic research have placed it in the much enlarged family...

 toxicity. JT Potts described the physiology and clinical role of calcitonin
Calcitonin is a 32-amino acid linear polypeptide hormone that is producedin humans primarily by the parafollicular cells of the thyroid, and in many other animals in the ultimobranchial body. It acts to reduce blood calcium , opposing the effects of parathyroid hormone . Calcitonin has been found...


In the 1980s, William Crowley first used GnRH agonist treatment for central precocious puberty
Precocious puberty
As a medical term, precocious puberty describes puberty occurring at an unusually early age. In most of these children, the process is normal in every respect except the unusually early age, and simply represents a variation of normal development. In a minority of children, the early development is...

. This treatment is still the most effective for the disorder. Ann Klibanski and Ridgway studied the glycoprotein
Glycoproteins are proteins that contain oligosaccharide chains covalently attached to polypeptide side-chains. The carbohydrate is attached to the protein in a cotranslational or posttranslational modification. This process is known as glycosylation. In proteins that have segments extending...

 secretion of pituitary tumors. David G. Nathan|David Nathan]] and Blackshear first treated type I and type II diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

 with an implantable insulin pump
Insulin pump
The insulin pump is a medical device used for the administration of insulin in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, also known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy.The device includes:...


The 1990s were an explosion of research at the MGH GCRC. In the early 1990s, Mankin used replacement therapy for Gaucher's Disease
Gaucher's disease
Gaucher's disease is a genetic disease in which a fatty substance accumulates in cells and certain organs.Gaucher's disease is the most common of the lysosomal storage diseases. It is caused by a hereditary deficiency of the enzyme glucosylceramidase. The enzyme acts on the fatty acid...

. Robert Neer began researching parathyroid hormone
Parathyroid hormone
Parathyroid hormone , parathormone or parathyrin, is secreted by the chief cells of the parathyroid glands as a polypeptide containing 84 amino acids...

 injections as means to prevent osteoperosis after menopause
Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries: the ripening and release of ova and the release of hormones that cause both the creation of the uterine lining and the subsequent shedding of the uterine lining...

. In the late 1990s, Hans Breiter used fMRI technology to show how specific areas of the human brain react to cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 and cocaine cravings. Klibanski used rhIGF-1 to treat bone loss among people with anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Although commonly called "anorexia", that term on its own denotes any symptomatic loss of appetite and is not strictly accurate...

 and other eating disorders. Janet Hall and William Crowley used pulsatile GnRH to induce ovulation
Ovulation is the process in a female's menstrual cycle by which a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and discharges an ovum . Ovulation also occurs in the estrous cycle of other female mammals, which differs in many fundamental ways from the menstrual cycle...

 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
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

 patients, with fewer side effects and improved bone density. Stephen Grinspoon treated HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

Lipodystrophy is a medical condition characterized by abnormal or degenerative conditions of the body's adipose tissue. A more specific term, lipoatrophy is used when describing the loss of fat from one area...

 and associated metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It affects one in five people in the United States and prevalence increases with age...

 with insulin-sensitizing agents. Enrico Cagliero and David Nathan used islet cell transplantation
Islet cell transplantation
Islet transplantation is the transplantation of isolated islets from a donor pancreas and into another person. It is an experimental treatment for type 1 diabetes mellitus. Once transplanted, the islets begin to produce insulin, actively regulating the level of glucose in the blood.Islets are...

 in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus who were already receiving a kidney transplant.
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