What is translational research?
As defined by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, translation is “the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public—from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes.”
At the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), working to accelerate translational research means we support and cultivate a pipeline of scientific discovery, where the ultimate outcome is actionable results that help improve health in our state.
The translational research pipeline:
- T0 – Basic science at the molecular and cellular levels.
- T1 – Animal research models testing concepts and preclinical models.
- T2 – Preclinical to first-in-human research.
- T3 – First-in-human research to research that moves into actual practice.
- T4 – Research-based practice that moves into policy.
It’s our job to keep this pipeline flowing effectively and efficiently to keep translational research innovation moving toward interventions that improve the lives of Indiana residents.
Why is supporting translational research important?
Supporting translational research is important because even though likening the process to a “pipeline” makes the work seem linear and straightforward, it’s not. Translational research is complicated because scientists are trying to move discoveries made in simple systems such as cells and proteins into complex, real-world environments and applications that benefit people. In addition to the complex subject matter, science also requires great discipline as researchers often have to fail many times before getting it “right.” That’s why is takes extensive resources and expertise to help guide translational research from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside.
How does the Indiana CTSI support translational research?
Founded as a statewide partnership among Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, the Indiana CTSI provides valuable research expertise, financial support and infrastructure such as lab equipment and technology.
These resources, funded in part by the universities and the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards Program, enable the Indiana CTSI to support high-quality translational science at the state’s premier research universities.