May 25, 2008 If you were sick, wouldn’t you prefer a customized medical treatment that works specifically for you? Or a treatment that prevents you from ever getting sick in the first place? The emerging field of clinical and translational science provides the bridging force that transforms lab discoveries into customized, patient-specific therapy.
Deputy Editor, Scott A. Waldman, MD, PhD, and Executive Editor, Andre Terzic, MD, PhD, discuss clinical and translational science and its impact on our healthcare in the first issue of the journal CTS: Clinical and Translational Science.
“Diseases ultimately originate from abnormalities in the individual molecules controlling the function of normal cells. Defining those molecules and their normal and abnormal interactions for each disease state creates opportunities to repair malfunctions and restore cells to normal health,” explains Waldman. Thus, defining mechanisms at the molecular level underlying disease is the key to designing better methods for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease.
Success will require decoding abnormal genetic programming, eventually at birth, and identifying any acquired genetic abnormalities over your lifetime. The role the environment plays in our disease development will also have to be defined.
Clinical and translational medicine holds the promise of helping physicians establish individualized disease risk, preventing disease development and ultimately creating personalized therapeutic intervention for their patients. This new approach will in turn allow healthcare to transform from a reactive model to a more powerful, preemptive one.
Researchers and clinicians are realizing in order to turn the hype of genome-related medical breakthroughs into reality, their work will have to evolve into a multidimensional approach to medicine. This will incorporate basic research, clinical practice and interdisciplinary education, along with collaboration among diverse scientific and clinical fields.
“In the long-run, the success of this discipline will result in innovative diagnostic and therapeutic tools to predict, prevent and cure disease in patients, individually and across global populations,” conclude Waldman and Terzic.
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