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Translational Research Scientists

This field of research includes PhDs., M.D.s and doctors who have both an MD and a PhD and are called 'physician-scientists'. MD's in this field often treat patients as well as conduct research. These researchers study mechanisms involved in cancer 'in vivo' (in a living organism), including both laboratory animals and humans.


Translational research scientists keep one foot in the world of basic science (bench science) and the other foot in clinical applications (bedside) by working on translation.

Work in their laboratories is conducted in animal models and may result in new treatments that are tried in small "first of human" clinical trials.

The results of these trials may then send translational scientists back to the laboratory to refine the treatment before it is again tested in larger human trials.


In order to make any advances in translational cancer medicine, lines of communication between researchers and clinicians must remain open. This philosophy is depicted in the image above.

The development and maintenance of adequate shared infrastructures is considered a major goal for academic centers promoting translational research programs. For example, rather than buying 20 of the same machine for each lab, a University may now have 10 and researchers share them. This saves both money and space.

Also, appropriate policies are needed to encourage the academic culture to move toward more collaboration, improve administrative facilitations for translational research and create efficient organizations that support clinical trial recruitment.

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