Pharma R&D Today
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Translational Medicine, Data Access and Pharmaceutical Innovation
Posted on January 17th, 2018 by Sherry Winter in Pharma R&D
Some of the early seeds of translational medicine were planted in 1992 when the U.S. National Cancer Institute introduced a program designed to improve and accelerate the knowledge exchange between basic and clinical science. Originally meant to address the slow growth of progress in cancer research, the notion of improving and speeding the translation of knowledge from bench to bedside to the community began to catch on in other research areas.
Since the early 2000s, publications on translational medicine have been growing exponentially from year to year. Yet, the definition of translational medicine has been somewhat elusive. It has altered over time, and may be described differently depending upon who is defining it, what sector they are in and what their particular role is. At the heart, though, virtually every definition of translation medicine seems to recognize that it involves the translation of knowledge between the three principal sources of knowledge—the research lab, the patient and the community.
The use of the word “translation” is very intentional. It isn’t just about transferring information from one area to another, but specifically translating it. This is an acknowledgement of the fact that each of these three pillars has unique methods and approaches for generating information, and therefore it may not be in a “language” readily accessible to the other. That’s why it must be converted, or translated, so that it can be effectively used by another hub.
Effectively integrating information that comes in disparate forms is one of the great challenges of the big data era. Information systems, techniques and technologies are all being developed to deal with these challenges, but implementation is complicated and a work-in-progress. The new white paper “Catalyzing translational medicine through data access and stewardship” indicates that translational medicine, even with these challenges, is worth pursuing for pharmaceutical companies, as it has the potential to optimize the drug development pipeline and bring about innovation faster.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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