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Translational Research

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center has two important translational research initiatives underway:

What is Translational Research?

Moving discoveries in basic science to application in clinical science is called translational research

Inside the translational research lab

In the broad area of clinical research there are two types of translational research that are now being referred to as Type 1 and type 2 translation by the National Institute of Health.

Type 1 translation is the movement of basic science discoveries into research that involves humans, so it involves taking research that was only done in cells or animals and then applying that research to a human problem that requires the involvement of human subjects. This is also called moving research from the bench to the bedside. So it is going from a basic discovery to a clinical trial or a next phase that involves humans.

This is another way to define type 1 translation, taken from NIH:

    To improve human health, scientific discoveries must be translated into practical applications. Such discoveries typically begin at "the bench" with basic research - in which scientists study disease at a molecular or cellular level - then progress to the clinical level, or the patient's "bedside." Scientists are increasingly aware that this bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is really a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease that often stimulate basic investigations. Translational research has proven to be a powerful process that drives the clinical research engine.

Type 2 translation is a fairly new description that comes from the concern that many clinical research discoveries in academic medical centers never find their way into commonly accepted medical practice. So there is also a push to not only discover things in academia, but to get it accepted in practice so that it is actually utilized and improves health. So type 2 translational research is focused on integration and implementation strategies to get the community (i.e., practitioners or the public) to adopt new clinical research findings. This type of research can be at a number of different levels, including education of new methods or treatments, economic analysis of new therapies, retooling how we do medicine to use a new method, outcomes effectiveness measures, etc. This is also referred to as moving the research from the bedside to the community.

Learn more about translational research underway at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

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