Translational medicine

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Translational medicine is a branch of medical research that attempts to more directly connect basic research to patient care. Translational medicine is growing in importance in the healthcare industry, and is a term whose precise definition is in flux. In the case of drug discovery and development, translational medicine typically refers to the "translation" of basic research into real therapies for real patients. The emphasis is on the linkage between the laboratory and the patient's bedside, without a real disconnect. This is often called the "bench to bedside" definition.

Translational medicine can also have a much broader definition, referring to the development and application of new technologies in a patient driven environment - where the emphasis is on early patient testing and evaluation. In modern healthcare, we are seeing a move to a more open, patient driven research process, and the embrace of a more research driven clinical practice of medicine.

Many pharmaceutical companies are building translational medicine groups to facilitate the interaction between basic research and clinical medicine, particularly in clinical trials. Traditionally, basic research has been separated from the clinical practice of medicine by a series of hurdles or fences. New drugs were developed independently of the clinic, and often "thrown over the fence" for safety testing and clinical trials. The move toward translational medicine is focused on removing these fences, and stimulating "bench to bedside" research.

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