The Translational Research Office (TRO) facilitates the translation of UCL’s emerging research into therapies, techniques and medical products.
What is Translational Research?
From the derived term “from bench to bedside”, translational research is the process whereby ideas and discoveries from emerging research projects are translated into products of therapeutic value for human patient benefit. Where discoveries in “basic science” improve our understanding of a disease, the aim of translational research is to move basic science into practice, to improve human health through the development of drugs, therapies, techniques and medical devices.
Why is translational research important?
Scientists make ground-breaking discoveries in the lab every day – but translating these findings to improve human health is not a quick or simple task. It requires numerous steps to take the work through from pre-clinical, to clinical trials, to approved use in the clinic. Translational research projects are designed to speed up this process, as well as ensuring that when the clinical trial stage is reached, the treatment has the highest possibility of success in the aspect of safety and efficacy.
Translational research often focusses on conditions where there is an unmet medical need; this is defined as a condition where there is currently no adequate diagnosis, treatment or prevention method.
Therefore translational research is exceptionally important in terms of helping patients with rare conditions reach an accurate diagnosis, as well as providing those that suffer from medical conditions with lack of effective treatment, experience a better quality of life through developing new suitable treatments.
Where does multidisciplinary collaboration come into translational research?
The success of translational research relies on a multidisciplinary approach to overcome barriers to translation. Collaboration between laboratory and clinical researchers is essential, as well as bringing together life-scientists, engineers, clinicians, translational and commercial experts to develop strategic partnerships and accelerate ideas into translational health innovation.
Such expert communities as the UCL Therapeutic Innovation Networks (TINs), focus on the translation of a specific therapeutic modality including: Biologics, Small Molecules, Devices, Cell, Gene & Regenerative Medicines, Diagnostics and Repurposing.
Collaboration has been key to the TRO’s success, not least its work with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) at UCLH, Great Ormond Street and Moorfields Hospitals.
This has helped accelerate access to patients, ensuring their voice is heard at the earliest stage of development, through to greater recruitment into clinical trials and providing first class facilities to perform experimental medicine studies” – Jane Kinghorn, Director, UCL TRO.