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Translational Research and Medicine

What Exactly is Translational Research?

The boundary between traditional basic research, clinical research, and patient-centered research are becoming a single, continuous, and two-way spectrum, which is often called "translational research" or "translational medicine". Translational research includes two areas of translation. One is the process of applying discoveries from the lab and preclinical studies to human trials and research. The second area of translation concerns a study aimed at enhancing the adoption of best practices in the community. The cost-effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies is also an important part of translational science.

Three major themes of translation research today, the description of etiology and pathogenesis, the identification of effective biomarkers, and the development of etiological oriented treatment, have become inseparable. The development of translational medicine has greatly increased the number of people participating in clinical trials, both at the discovery stage and in clinical trials. Translational medicine has also provided patients with the opportunity to actively participate in groundbreaking science, as it requires patients to be willing to participate in all aspects of study through clinical care.

Models of Translational Research

Models are essential for understanding and representing complex multifaceted constructs such as translational research.

  • One of the earliest and most direct models of translational research was developed by Sung. He described a two-phase framework that mainly includes "blocks" existing in the process from basic research to improving health. The first translational block includes the transfer of new insights from the lab on disease mechanisms into new study methods for diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and the first human trial. The second translational block affects the translation of clinical research results into daily clinical practice and health decision-making. They called the first phase T1 translational research and the second phase T2 research.

Translational research model. Fig.1 Translational research model. (Krishnan, 2013)

  • Westfall et al. offer a similar multiphase model of translational research but divide it differently into three phases. The first T1 goes from basic to human clinical studies with this latter consisting of early human clinical trials. The second and third phases of clinical research (T2 and T3) collectively span practice-based research. In their T2 phase, knowledge is moved from early clinical trials to use with patients in phase III and IV clinical trials through guideline development, meta-analyses, and systematic reviews. The third phase, T3, involves translation into practice, including dissemination and implementation study.
  • A four-phase model has been offered by Khoury et al. Their first two phases are like Dougherty and onway's difference between efficacy and effectiveness studies in clinical research. Their T3 phase encompasses dissemination, implementation, and diffusion research. Perhaps, the most salient feature of their model is their identification of T4 that they describe as "outcomes research" and defines research that describes, explains, and predicts the effects of various influences.

Creative Biolabs specializes in neuroscience research. Translational research has allowed us to apply our increasing basic scientific knowledge of neuroscience to the rational development of new investigational therapies based on our current understanding of disease pathogenesis. Please contact us for more information. We look forward to finding the best-fit solution for your project.


  1. Krishnan, J.A et al. Stakeholder priorities for comparative effectiveness research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a workshop report. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2013, 187(3): 320-326.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.