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Commentary
January 9/16, 2008

The Meaning of Translational Research and Why It Matters

Author Affiliations
 

Author Affiliation: Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology and Community Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

JAMA. 2008;299(2):211-213. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.26

Translational research means different things to different people, but it seems important to almost everyone. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made translational research a priority, forming centers of translational research at its institutes and launching the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program in 2006. With 24 CTSA-funded academic centers already established, other universities are transforming themselves to compete for upcoming CTSA grants. By 2012, the NIH expects to fund 60 such centers with a budget of $500 million per year.1 Besides academic centers, foundations, industry, disease-related organizations, and individual hospitals and health systems have also established translational research programs and at least 2 journals (Translational Medicine and the Journal of Translational Medicine) are devoted to the topic. By some accounts, translational research has become a centerpiece of the European Commission's €6 billion budget for health-related research, and the United Kingdom has invested £450 million over 5 years to establish translational research centers.2

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