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