"Translational medicine” is the broad term for a relatively new, paradigm-shifting approach to research and practice. In essence, translational medicine integrates diverse medical and non-medical disciplines to improve health.
Among the goals: to make medical research more cost-effective, move discoveries from lab to clinical use more quickly, and help ensure that discoveries are meaningful to the constituencies they seek to help.
Translational research, a major component of translational medicine, fundamentally differs from traditional, highly specialized medical research. Its pan-disciplinary “bench to bedside” approach may include medicine, pharmacology, finance, ethics, regulatory, legislative and other investigative areas and issues, from research concepts to decisions at every subsequent stage.
Similarly, where traditional basic research focuses on discovery, translational research also emphasizes the latter stages of development and application – hence the term “clinical and translational science.” And where traditional research is often an independent or highly specialized, small-team endeavor, translational research by definition is highly collaborative.
The US National Institutes of Health, through its National Center for Research Resources, formally dedicated $2.8 billion to encouraging translational research beginning in 2010, and since has funded 60 Clinical and Translational Science Awards and Institutes nationwide.