The term "translational research" has been used since the early 90s as a result of the lack of research applications in healthcare. Its main objective is to increase health performance in the general population. More information regarding what is translational research is provided below.
History and Definition
- The term "translational research" first appeared in the early 1990s. This term emerged as a result of considerable increases "in basic or clinical science discoveries" and not many advances in "health care and health outcomes."
- Translational research came to be because of the long time it takes to bring medical discoveries into practice and the need to transform research into practice more quickly. According to studies, it takes an average of 17 years for 14% of new discoveries to enter clinical practice.
- The term has been defined differently by scholars and professionals. Despite these variations, in every definition three attributes are highlighted: it adopts a scientific approach, it includes innovative investigation, and it is directed toward improved performance. One example is the definition by nature.com: "Translational research involves the application of knowledge gained through basic research to studies that could support the development of new products."
- Translational research is aimed toward bonding "practical laboratory practices and performance related issues" in the health profession. It has been recently seen as a scientific discipline that bounds basic and clinical science.
- It adopts a scientific investigation into a given health problem which eventually helps to increase health performance.
- Translational research reduces health disparity (when a proportion of people are unable to get equal medical treatment) as it makes use of realistic approaches for health sector problems and takes into consideration factors such as "income level, educational level, marital status, political affiliation, social status, and economic power."
- It promotes partnership in research as it uses partnership, often public-private, as a tool for ensuring that relevant stakeholders are involved in the research process, which ensures that the process of investigation is explored by a wide range of different groups of participants and a lasting solution is achieved.
- Also, it helps research to be patient-oriented as translational research considers the patients’ needs, aspirations and problems in all the research process.
How It Differs from Clinical Research
- Clinical research involves studying subjects through surveys, health services research, or clinical trials by testing regulated hypotheses in controlled environments. Through it, scientists and physicians are able to find new methods of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
- In the other hand, translational research serves as a bridge between science and practice and, ultimately, patients' needs. It translates research results into strategies for improving healthcare and community health,
- Additionally, clinical research is usually done at "academic medical centers and their affiliated research sites," while translational research is mostly done at dedicated university science departments and research centers because it requires various sets of skills, tools, and resources that sometimes are not found at a typical laboratory or clinic.
How It Works
- In translational research, "academia and industry work together" to improve health outcomes. Its success does not depend only on the science and its application, but also on the informatics needed to connect them.
- Translational research informatics is the bridge between biomedical informatics and translational research and enables researchers to store and analyze their data to make possible the application in the clinic.
- It involves four phases: translation to humans (find a use for a scientific discovery in human health), translation to clinical settings (understand the value of the potential health use), translation to practice (move evidence-based guidelines into practice), and translation to populations (evaluate the real-world outcomes).