Translational research and translational medicine (referred to hereafter as translational research) are interchangeable terms that underline the pressing need to translate into practical benefits for those affected by disease the extensive investments divested by the private and public sectors in biomedical research. For people more directly involved in clinical practice (physicians, clinical laboratory professionals and patients), translational research responds to the need to accelerate the capture of benefits of research, closing the gap between what we know and what we practice. This basically means the transfer of diagnostic and therapeutic advances proven effective in large, well-conducted trials (and, therefore, evidence-based) to daily medical practice. Translational research should be regarded as a two-way road: bench to bedside, and bedside to bench. In particular, to make possible a more effective translation process, a new road map should be implemented through interaction and cooperation between basic researchers, clinicians, laboratory professionals and manufacturers. Some examples of recent developments in clinical laboratory testing, including markers of cardiovascular diseases, clinical proteomics and recombinant allergens, may explain the importance of careful evaluation of all variables that allow the introduction of such new insights into clinical practice to assure better clinical outcomes. The vital role of laboratory medicine in the delivery of safer and more effective healthcare requires more careful evaluation not only of the analytical characteristics, but also of any other variable that may affect the clinical usefulness and diagnostic performances of laboratory tests, thus allowing more accurate interpretation and utilization of laboratory information.
Clin Chem Lab Med 2006;44:1303–12.