Translational medicine seeks to coordinate the use of new knowledge in clinical practice and to incorporate clinical observations and questions into scientific hypotheses in the laboratory. Thus, it is a bidirectional concept, encompassing so-called bench-to-bedside factors, which aim to increase the efficiency by which new therapeutic strategies developed through basic research are tested clinically, and bedside-to-bench factors, which provide feedback about the applications of new treatments and how they can be improved. Translational medicine facilitates the characterization of disease processes and the generation of novel hypotheses based on direct human observation.
There is growing evidence to the importance of translational science and medicine in the improvement of patient outcome, even though the definitions of translational science, translational medicine, and clinical and translational medicine need to be further clarified. Clinical and translational medicine is expected to include scientific and regulatory investigations to translate preclinical researches to clinical application with a specific emphasis on new biotechnologies, biomaterials, bioengineering, disease-specific biomarkers, cellular and molecular medicine, omics science, bioinformatics, applied immunology, molecular imaging, drug discovery and development, and regulation and health policy.
It is believed that clinical and translational medicine will benefit and improve novel diagnostics/prognostics and therapeutics for clinical use, post-genomic knowledge and experience, and/or new disciplines that reflect additional levels of complexity. We should clarify the bioethics at the interface and paradigms between technology and society, academies and industries, as well as publics and private models. Translational medicine should meet the demands of maintaining or expanding the biomedical workforce and education programs that attract and retain young people in the translational and biomedical sciences.
In the present perspective, translational medicine is becoming ever-more interdisciplinary. For example, researchers need new computational approaches to deal with the large amounts of data pouring in from genomics and other fields, and as new advances in physics and materials science offer new approaches to study or diagnose medical conditions.