Does Cancer Research Benefit from Translational Research?

Transitional research represents an ongoing battle within the realm of cancer science and the associated research. The big question is whether the truly beneficial treatments should come from basic research, or if an applied approach can serve people better. There’s no good way to go about discussing these methods without first understanding what translational research really is.

What is Translational Research?

Pinpointing precisely what translational research is has stumped quite a few authorities. It’s better to discuss what it’s not before giving it any kind of definition.

It’s Not Basic Research – Basic research is the raw, laboratory-fueled research. Through this research, breakthroughs occur. This is the fundamental backbone of all science discoveries. However, it’s not always readily apparent what applications can use the research. Finding new information on cancer tissues happens here.

Does Cancer Research

It’s Not Applied Research – Applied research implies finding theoretical applicable uses for current research. Not big on breakthroughs or taking research to the next level. More like taking raw basic data and turning it into something that others can digest and maybe use. Using information on cancer tissues to publish papers and reports happen here.

Translational research lies somewhere in the middle. You may hear it called “bench-to-bedside,” which does sum up its purpose. It involves taking fundamental research and making it applicable.  While that may sound like applied research, it’s far from it.

The difference here is that transitional research involves action. It involves taking the findings from basic research and then actively attempting to find uses for it. It’s a process that goes through many cycles until something usable comes out of it. People then put the product of that process to use.

Arguments for and Against

The main argument over the use of transitional research comes from those same understandings of scientific research in general. Many believe that waiting on the breakthroughs from basic research is the best approach. Using current research and developing applications from them is akin to going into a situation with guns blazing before knowing all the facts.

Applied research adherents feel that it’s not the place of any particular group to actively try to develop applications. They feel it’s best left up to those in the particular fields that know the situation best.

For instance, you don’t take a new but soundly tested theory and then give it to people who don’t particularly have anything to do with the aspect of science that theory centers on. How could they possibly know how to apply it to anything?

However, it may seem that translational research can also solve the issues that other researchers have. Sometime, breakthroughs from basic research are few and very, very far between. Transitional research can accelerate that process sometimes since the researchers are actively trying to find ways to use said research.

Pramod Srivastava in his lab.

For the applied research naysayers, it’s worth noting that more minds applied to finding a solution is usually better. Fresh thoughts, ideas, perspectives and disciplines can turn even a useless discovery into a fundamentally beneficial one.

What Does it Have to Do With Cancer Research?

Cancer research also has to contend with these differing concerns regarding research. In the end, transitional research represents a bright hope for cancer research. You can see already the cooperative efforts that are coming into play.

Already there are service providers like ILSbio that offer information on cancer tissues and biobanks that facilitate the cooperative nature of translational research. If you want to take your research into a new direction with the cooperation of other groups, speak to ILSbio about how they can aid your cause.

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