Translational Research

Translational research is an approach that aims to make medical research findings usable and applicable to patients without delay. It involves integration of different types of medical research. One of the aims of translational research is to deliver personalised medicine, in other words, giving the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time.

Translational research can be:

  • T1: integrated laboratory and clinical research. This works in two directions: 'bench to bedside' and 'bedside to bench'. In 'bench to bedside', discoveries generated in laboratory and preclinical studies are developed in clinical trials and studies in humans. The clinical results may then generate further scientific questions, hence 'bedside to bench'.
  • T2: exploring ways of applying evidence-based medicine, recommendations or guidelines to clinical practice. This research yields knowledge about how interventions work in real-world settings.

Over half our clinical trials at the CTC have a T1 approach. Where possible and appropriate, they include an option for patients to consent to their biological samples (such as tissue and blood) being used in research, which may include:

  • molecular studies, which use DNA recovered from samples to study gene mutations, epigenetics and genomic sequencing
  • protein studies, which consider expression levels of a protein of interest and distribution of the protein in the tissue or cell, and its phosphorylation status
  • circulating-tumour-cell studies, for which blood cells of patients with solid tumours may be collected.

Biomarkers from biospecimens may be studied for their potential utility, for example, as a diagnostic test for a disease, as prognostic markers or as markers that predict treatment response or toxicities. This information may be used to assess the eligibility of patients for new trials.

Biospecimens may be stored in biobanks for the future. Scientific knowledge and technology are developing rapidly, and research ideas may come about during the course of a trial running over several years.

Experiments on biospecimens are conducted at the laboratories of our research collaborators.

Quick links

Translational research
in cardiovascular trials

Translational research
in oncology trials

Personalised medicine 


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