Translational Research Informatics


Translational Research Informatics is a sub-domain of medical informatics. “It’s main focus is applying informatics theory to Translational Research.” (*1) But first, what is Translational Research? The idea driving Translational Research is, that to improve human health, scientific discoveries must be translated into practical applications. So Translational Research Informatics (TRI) is basically “An integrated software solution to manage the: (i) logistics, (ii) data integration, and (iii) collaboration, required by translational investigators and their supporting institutions.”

In simpler terms, Translational Research Informatics is basically research informatics that is research used for the advancement of scientific discoveries from the bench to medical care at the bedside, overall improving the health of the community. To gain the goal of bench to bedside, and bedside to practice there are specific phases to go through. Starting off with phase 1 (bench to bedside) it become easier to understand how a simple discovery moves into a clinical application. Then comes phase 2 (bedside to practice), which is research backing up the simple discovery and providing validation to be used in a clinical setting. After comes phase 3; research that moves validation of clinical usage from phase 2 into common health practice. Once the simple discovery has been moved out of phase 3 it moves into phase 4. In phase 4 more research is taken place to examine the "real world" health outcomes, from the original simple discovery in phase 1. Once all the phases are executed Translational research provides guidelines for best real world clinical practices, which makes Translational Research the exit phase of medical research.

Translation and it's Area's:

Translation is sometimes the most overlooked, barrier/stumbling-block when looking at the processes of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. The National Institute of Health says that there are Two areas of translation. “One is the process of applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory, and in preclinical studies, to the development of trials and studies in humans. The second area of translation concerns research aimed at enhancing the adoption of best practices in the community. Cost-effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies is also an important part of translational research.” (*2)

Since Translational Research is heavily based on social aspects, it is used as a medium for connecting research with the public. Without access to public information there would be nothing to asses medical practices. Information Technology is also another area that Translation Research collaborates with, because the transition of knowledge and execution of practice is eventually applied to the real world through technology.

The Future

"With its focus on removing barriers to multi-disciplinary collaboration, translational research has the potential to drive the advancement of applied science."(*4) Though Translational Research Informatics is a fairly new field, these systems are expected to rapidly grow, develop, and evolve in the next few years to come. Research is an essential part in creating new systems and making breakthrough discoveries. With a better research infrastructure in place, we would see a much better turn out of real life applications stemming from this research.

"Through discussions with deans of academic health centers, recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and meetings with the research community, the NIH recognized that a broad re-engineering effort is needed to create greater opportunity to catalyze the development of a new discipline of clinical and translational science. The outcome, a bolder transforming vision for 21st Century, resulted in the launch of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium in October 2006." (*1)

With human health rapidly improving, translation research allows for discoveries found in research to be implemented into practice. Other sectors that benefit from translational research include informatics services, data warehousing for data sharing with other systems in the medical field, education programs, and web portals in assistance for research activities.

The advancement in technology also plays a big role for the future of Translational Research Informatics. Improvement of prediction technology helps foresee the final result of human based clinical trials at the earliest stage possible; making errors caused in practice less probable.

The public also plays a big role in helping launch Translational Research Informatics. Currently there may be many hurdles for up and coming therapies and new inventions. With the private sector basically running the investments for this kind of research, some of the new, high-risk ideas or therapies for uncommon disorders will never get the proper funding. This is where the public can come in and fill that gap with their resources. This will allow for the more efficient translation of this research and let more promising discoveries take place.

Where Translational Research stands:

Systems in Translational Research Informatics:
System Type
Description of System
Translational Study Management
Systems to manage investigator lead biomarker validation studies / outcomes / observational studies.
Electronic Patient Questionnaires
Web based forms for capturing participant demographic, condition, treatment, and outcomes information.
Clinical Information Management
Systems to integrate clinical annotations extracted from various sources systems, like HL7 Electronic Medical Records, Cancer Registries, Clinical Data Management Systems, and Clinical Data Warehouses.
Biorepository Management Systems
Manage biospecimens derived from study participants, operating rooms, etc.
Laboratory Information Management Systems
Systems to manage clinical, analytical, and life sciences core technology laboratories - often conducting genomics, proteomics, metabolomics,molecular imaging, peptide synthesis, flow cytometry, etc.
Systems Biology / Science Data Management
A data base and content management system to archive raw instrument files and database science results data.
Research Collaboration System
A software solution to enable investigators and their research teams to share project information, results data, and insights.

Other Useful Links:

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