Translating a basic finding into a new therapy requires us to speak many languages—scientific, clinical, legal and financial. Yet most of us are hopelessly ‘monolingual’, a limitation that substantially slows translational research. Steps have been taken to address this problem, but a lot remains to be done, as described in September’s Editorial in Nature Medicine ‘In the land of the monolingual’ (15, 975; 2009). The Editorial begins optimistically:
“Congratulations! You’ve just published a paper in Nature Medicine identifying a new target to treat your favorite disease and are eager to take this finding to the clinic. Excellent, but where do you start? Are you familiar with all the steps you need to take from your discovery to a clinical trial?” It contiunes with much valuable advice and references for those wishing to navigate the translational pathway from bench to clinic, focusing on new initiatives in the main areas of resources and training. Even though there are some positive approaches, the Editorial concludes that “the best ways to facilitate translational research have yet to be discovered. However, their sheer existence offers hope that translational research will become smoother, speeding up the rate at which drugs and medical devices make it to the clinic. At the same time, it is clear that we need to do a lot more on a global scale to empower scientists with the education necessary to make a real translational impact. If each of us tries to become at least ‘bilingual’, we might feel a little less overwhelmed by the Tower of Babel that translational research has become.”
Related article in the same issue of Nature Medicine (15, 1006-1009; 2009):
The advancement of translational medicine—from regional challenges to global solutions
Salvatore Albani & Berent Prakken
The Arizona Arthritis Center, University of Arizona, and the Center for Molecular and Cellular Intervention, University Medical Center Utrecht. Both authors are at Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine, Siracusa, Italy.