Translational medicine is a rather recent area of study/focus in the world of medical research. Translational medicine is crucial area of study in that it is the middleman between preliminary research and clinical trials in terms of the creation and development of new prescription medications and treatments for disease and illness. It is important that scientists and researchers focus on this transition between the preliminary stage and the more developed phases, because it makes for more effective, successful development and production of prescription medications.
Although it is only about 10 years old, translational medicine is extremely popular in Universities, which is where a number of medical discoveries and crucial developments take place. Universities are typically where basic research starts, as professors can employ the help of students in their research and for many students who are majoring in some sort of pre-med field, lab hours are a requirement. Because of this, preliminary research is constantly going on in Universities, so there is naturally a large amount of discoveries occurring due to the sheer quantity of experimentation.
On the other hand, it is extremely expensive for Universities to fund a lot of this research, especially clinical research. A lot of these medical studies in Universities, specifically clinical research, are funded by well-established pharmaceutical companies. In cases like these, generally pharmaceutical companies will supply this funding and if/when the universities make a discovery, the pharmaceutical companies will expect that the universities will sell or license the rights to their discovery to the company.
There are a great deal of interesting studies that translational medicine has helped to facilitate, such as a chip roughly the size of a credit card that can be utilized to diagnose HIV, and stem cells that have been modified to make white blood cells that generate a specific type of protein that cleared tumor cells in mice of the disease.
Translational medicine has the potential to drive medical research to new heights, and with all the progress that has been made in the last short ten years, one can only imagine the progress we will see in the next few years.