Translational research or translational medicine is a method of research used to create new therapies and medical practices for existing diseases. Translational research in humans as well as veterinary practices is a common way of developing vaccines and medicines.
Translational research refers to studying the effects of the medicine on a set of cell structures, tissue culture, or animals to see the effects thus studying their effects on the complex cell structures and bodies.
What is the difference between Clinical and Translational Research?
Clinical research involves the close study of humans and animals using close trials. A clinical study is narrow testing of theories and reiterating those so that they can be brought to practice. Various treatments and methods of prevention can be deduced from clinical research.
The main difference between the two lies in the fact that Translational research is multidisciplinary, which is conducted across various departments that include Law, Patenting, etc.
Clinical research is focused on finding the solution, whereas translational research often focuses on finding solutions and applying them to the population of people and animals.
What is the difference between Evidence-based practice and Translational Research?
Evidence-based practices or EBP refer to medical practices completely driven by present evidence and not age-old techniques or intuition. It refers to offering enough research for a medical professional to justify their decisions.
The main difference between the two is that EBP is derived heavily from individual studies and applied to a situation based on the merit or relevance of that particular EBP.
Translational research is multi-disciplinary and it also takes time for it to implement in medical practices.
The “Ts” of the Translational Research.
The basics of translational study is often referred to as “bench side beside and community”. It refers to the knowledge gained from basic sciences can be applied for clinical practices.
Often time, translational research is developed in stages which are referred to as T-phases. They often refer to the stages of research from the bench side to the community.
Different researchers opt for different models for their research but the basic Ts remain the same.
T0 refers to the identification of the problem. Research often begins when there is an opportunity in the field of science. This is the stage where the opportunity and need are identified.
T1 refers to a basic pre-existing application in patients. This phase refers to an evaluation of basic solutions and where exactly do those solutions fall short. This phase also determines how to move ahead for further research
T2 refers to collecting pieces of evidence and proof for the proposed solution. It also justifies the need for a new solution.
T3 refers to rigorous studies on less complex structures like a tissue culture. The research is carefully used to move to more complex beings.
T4 refers to the same study in the T3 phase but on complex cell structures. It moves evidence-based guidelines into health practices.
T4 refers to testing the above solutions for real-world problems.
The phases are not necessarily in the given order. The order can interchange. They also don’t necessarily follow a linear fashion. Several phases may have to repeat with back and forth research and applications.
Frameworks for Translational Research
There are various theories and models in Translational research. There are 100 different models developed up-to-date. Translational research frameworks or models are developed with an aim to;
- Guide to translate research into practice
- Understand the influence of the outcome
- Understand the implementation
Let us look at some examples of these frameworks/models in Translation science;
- Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS/i-PARIHS)
- Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF)
- Normalization Process Theory (NPT)
- Knowledge to Action (KTA) Framework
- Diffusion of Innovation
- Behaviour Change Wheel Framework (BCW)
- Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR)
- Context and Implementation of Complex Interventions Framework (CICI)
- Translational Research Model
- Iowa Model of EBP to improve the Quality of care
How long does it take for Translational Research?
Translational research is the application of studies from basic knowledge to final implementation. It requires years of studies and money to successfully implement research into a proper solution that people can use. The estimated time is about 17 years and the costs can go up to $10 billion.
Translational research is a relatively new field as compared to Clinical research or evidence-based Practices.
Many laboratories and universities are setting up translational research for Covid-19. Let us hope in the near future we see a vaccine for the disease.