Science Translational Medicine
Science translational medicine is a moving field, allowing new treatments and diagnosis to be developed and applied to the existing body of knowledge as we understand it. This interdisciplinary field combines topics from both the clinical and laboratory areas and involves bringing laboratory-developed discoveries and technologies from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside. In this article, we will discuss the fundamentals of science translational medicine, the importance of the field, and terms to know in the field.
What is Science Translational Medicine?
Science translational medicine is a rapidly evolving new area of science that combines traditional and emerging areas of research. In a broad sense, science translational medicine is the process of applying scientific discoveries and insights to the delivery of better care and treatments to patients. The field is a synthesis of biological science, clinical medicine and medical research, engineering and industrial technology.
As such, science translational medicine is essential to improve clinical research outcomes and the development of new treatments and diagnosis. These goals are achievable by focusing on fundamental principles, such as clinical benefit, safety, feasibility and efficacy.
The Importance of Science Translational Medicine
Science translational medicine is undoubtedly an important field of science. By bridging the gap between clinical knowledge and laboratory-developed discoveries, science translational medicine has helped researchers and clinicians develop accurate and reliable diagnostic methods, new therapies and treatments, and most importantly, improved patient outcomes.
The focus of science translational medicine is to translate data from the laboratory to the clinic, and ultimately, to the patient’s bedside. This interdisciplinary field is a convergence of traditional and emerging areas of research, as well as a combination of biology, engineering, medical research, and modern information technology.
In its essence, science translational medicine is essential in helping us answer important questions to develop treatments, cures and a better understanding of diseases.
Key Terms for Science Translational Medicine
When delving into the science of science translational medicine, there are some important definitions to keep in mind:
•Non-Medical Translational Research: This type of research involves the application of laboratory-developed discoveries and technologies from the laboratory to clinical applications and to patient bedside.
•Translational Medicine: This field of science combines traditional and emerging areas of research and involves bringing together biological science, clinical medicine and medical research, engineering, industrial technology, and modern information technology.
•Clinical Benefit: This term refers to the degree to which a health care treatment or intervention will improve the current state of a patient’s health.
•Safety: This term refers to the degree of harmlessness associated with a medical treatment or intervention.
•Feasibility: This term refers to the degree to which a medical treatment or intervention can be realistically implemented.
•Efficacy: This term refers to the degree of success in achieving a therapeutic or desired outcome in a medical treatment or intervention.
Translational Research: An Overview
Translational research is a multistage process, typically structured into four steps:
Preclinical and basic research: Preclinical and basic research is the first step, which often involves laboratory animal testing and screening of therapeutic agents for potential therapeutic effects against human diseases or conditions.
Clinical research and development: The second step in the translation process involves the translation of laboratory developed therapeutics or biologic agents into clinical development programs for testing in human subjects, including safety and efficacy evaluations.
Regulatory and commercialization: The third step involves obtaining regulatory approval and commercialization. This includes obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals from local and international health authorities, such as FDA approval.
Post-implementation applications: The fourth and final step is to implement and evaluate the outcomes of these therapies and medical products.
Examples of Successful Science Translational Medicine
There are numerous examples of successful science translational medicine, ranging from advances in cancer research to improved vaccines and diagnostics. Here are some interesting examples of successful science translational medicine:
• Research into the role of genetics in cancer development: In the late 1990s, research led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) identified several genes associated with cancer development. By studying the genes, researchers were able to develop drugs that target the mutated genes.
• Development of a vaccine for Ebola: The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research into the development of a vaccine for the Ebola virus, which successfully led to the development of an effective vaccine.
• Development of a prostate cancer screening: In 2012, researchers developed a prostate cancer screening test, which has been instrumental in helping diagnose prostate cancer at an earlier stage.
Overall, science translational medicine has been instrumental in improving patient outcomes, developing new treatments and advancing knowledge on how best to diagnose and treat chronic and acute conditions. In addition, the field has helped bridge the gap between the laboratory and the clinic, by providing new insights and knowledge to researchers and clinicians. Moving forward, the research and development in the field of science translational medicine will continue to make great strides in helping to develop cures and more effective treatments.