Translational medicine aims at bridging the gap between basic sciences and their application to human diseases, from bench to bedside, but also beyond. Translational medicine is a lengthy and complex process too often conceptualised as a stepped progression in which one stage of product development leads to another.
Actually, it is much more appropriate to consider translational medicine as a whole, as a system designed and managed for the purpose of bringing medical innovation to the public. A holistic understanding better prepare to identify and understand the tasks ahead and to negotiate the many obstacles to translating basis science into applications. These include:
- Intellectual property
- Technological and manufacturing diversity and complexity
- Range of expertise needed
- Management shortcoming
- Compartmentalisation & Silo-funding
Turning ideas into deliverable products can prove extremely difficult and when I write “from bench to bedside, but also beyond”, it is to emphasise that it is not enough to develop new therapies or medical procedures, however important or much needed they are, if they cannot be implemented for whatever reasons. Implementation research is an important aspect of translational medicine, though often neglected, and is needed from an early stage.
Skilled and efficient management from start to finish, from idea to end user is critical and pivotal in overcoming the many obstacles that thwart translational medicine. Thus, Translational Medicine Management is about filling the gaps, gluing the parts and building bridges on the way from basic research to a deliverable and delivered product.