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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 173-175

Translational research in anatomy: Potential opportunities in the discipline

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, JSS Medical College, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Additional Professor Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission05-Oct-2022
Date of Decision08-Oct-2022
Date of Acceptance12-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication29-Oct-2022

Correspondence Address:
Kumar Satish Ravi
Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJCA.NJCA_178_22

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How to cite this article:
Pushpa N B, Ravi KS. Translational research in anatomy: Potential opportunities in the discipline. Natl J Clin Anat 2022;11:173-5

How to cite this URL:
Pushpa N B, Ravi KS. Translational research in anatomy: Potential opportunities in the discipline. Natl J Clin Anat [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6];11:173-5. Available from: http://www.njca.info/text.asp?2022/11/4/173/359880

  Introduction Top

The process of combining findings from community-based studies, clinical trials, and laboratory observations into health-enhancing interventions is known as translational research. This covers everything from medical procedures and behavioral changes to diagnostics and therapies. To improve patient care and preventative measures that may extend beyond health-care services, it integrates research from the basic, social, and political sciences.[1],[2] Beginning with new research, translational research serves as the link between basic science and clinical medicine. The endpoint results in a promising new drug, treatment, or technique that can be commercialized or used in clinical settings. The continued advancement and accelerated adoption of translational science is the key to the future of health care. Translational research and translational effectiveness are the two main phenomena that work together to create evidence-based, patient-centered, and impact-oriented health care. Translational research obtains new information that directly benefits the patient through these applications and methods used on the patient. To deliver better service to the patients, this bench-to-bedside approach is specifically designed to improve health outcomes and healthcare standards [Figure 1]. The most effective evidence-based practices can be used, disseminated, and put into practice to better understand the intervention effectiveness.[3],[4] Although there are ample opportunities in genetics, molecular biology, implantation designing, translational genomics, etc., being a preclinical subject, mostly restricted to teaching, the translational research opportunities explored in anatomy are not overwhelming.
Figure 1: Principle of Translational research

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  Conceptualization Top

Basic science includes studies in laboratories that lay the foundation for clinical research. Training in basic research is inherent in medical institutes. With various master's degrees, Ph.D. programs, and postdoctoral fellowships, research in basic science is well established. The concept of translational research and the emphasis placed on it resulted from the difficulty in translating discoveries made in fundamental science into novel strategies that enhance human health [Figure 2]. At the moment, it appears that the definition of translational research is subjective. Translational research was introduced in 1993 and was frequently utilized until the year 2000. In the history of medicine, translational research may have received more resources and attention than any other undefined fields. However, the problem it addresses is serious, urgent, and deserving of effort and focus.[4],[5]
Figure 2: Major lacuna in the spectrum of translational research

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  The Spectrum of Translational Research Top

Translational research begins with basic research, usually preclinical or animal studies. This stage is called “T0,” which defines the targets and the mechanisms. The next step involves inventing new diagnostic methods, interventions, treatment, and preventive measures, referred to as the “T1” stage. This is followed by stage “T3,” controlled studies that lead to adequate health care. Stage T4 is the impartment of recommended and timely care to the stakeholder, and the final stage is T4 aims at translating research outcomes at the population/community level. Hence, T0–T4, the spectrum includes basic research (T0), translation to humans (T1), translation to patients (T2), translational to practice (T3), and translation to the community (T4).[3],[6]

  Translational Research in Anatomy Top

Translational research in anatomy embraces the study or observations that clearly articulate their relevance to the broader aspects of anatomy and how they can impact patient care.[7]

Progress in basic science and biotechnology has brought tremendous changes in medical research. Genetic variations influence disease susceptibility and the treatment response of an individual. With the advent of newer technologies, genomic sequencing has become cost-effective and is widely used in precision medicine. Unlike in the olden days, when the treating physician relied entirely on an average patient's expected outcome, advances in pharmacogenetics have paved the way for more personalized therapies and preventive measures.[8] Translating genomic and advanced approaches will transform clinical practice into more individualized and gene-based diagnostics and treatment tactics. Translational genomics focuses on the improvisation of human health by collaborating between genetic research in the laboratory and their application in clinical practice. This is aided by the recent technologies which have enabled the discovery of biomarkers, tailored interventions, and customizing prophylactic preventive measures. Hence, a multidisciplinary approach in the community must overcome the barriers to the practical clinical adoption of such a revolutionary paradigm to achieve optimal patient care and treatment.[9] As basic science researchers, anatomists are expected to contribute immensely to achieve this goal.

An orthopedic implant is a medical device/tool designed to replace a bone, joint, or cartilage due to any damage/deformity. Designing and manufacturing customized implants is a field that has been rapidly evolving in recent years. Hence, a thorough understanding of the morphology and morphometry of various anatomical structures is needed to design and customize the three-dimensional model. The knowledge of it will be very much helpful in designing implants for particular gender/populations. With this method, it is possible to develop volumetric implants to replace a part of the bone or a plate type for the fixation of the fractured bone.[8] Knowledge of morphology and morphometry of soft tissue also plays an essential role in plastic surgery, cosmetology, and dentistry.

An effective collaboration with other branches is yet another opportunity to address the deficits in basic science research for clinical practice. The bench-to-bedside approach is effectively attained by fruitful collaboration and influencing the study outcome, thereby improving patient care. Translational research has gained significant momentum in the recent past owing to the crisis in translating essential science research findings into health-care advances in academia and industry. Although effective attempts have been made to mitigate this crisis, the fruitful outcome is obscure compared to the amount of investment and the applicability of the results. Thus, “the translational gap” exists, which hinders the effective translation of biomedical research. Hence, the quality of biomedical research should be assessed by the “effective translation” of its observations/results rather than by the number of grants received and publications in top journals.[3],[5]

  Challenges Top

High expenses are involved in the effective translation of laboratory findings into a drug/marker; the procedure has led to the premature death of the ideas before they reach further stages in translational research – the “valley of death.” Literature suggests the practical difficulty in converting preclinical findings to patient care opportunities owing to a lack of reproducibility. There is also much apprehension about the accountability and robustness of the methodologies followed in arriving at the results. Other reasons for failed translation could be lack of relevance, insufficient understanding of the problem, use of inappropriate models, ethical issues involved, and lack of funding.[10],[11],[12]

  Conclusion Top

The adoption of translational science will continue to advance and accelerate in the future. In the ongoing effort to meet the needs of global health care safely and effectively, evidence-based medicine forms the basis of clinical practice. Learning to use and critique evidence for responsible decision-making based on it to avoid as many medical and surgical failures as possible during practice is the primary motivation for conducting research and publishing high-quality scientific articles. In this regard, translational research aims to turn fundamental discoveries into effective advances in health care quickly.

  References Top

Woolf SH. The meaning of translational research and why it matters. JAMA 2008;299:211-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
Fontanarosa PB, DeAngelis CD. Basic science and translational research in JAMA. JAMA 2002;287:1728.  Back to cited text no. 2
Seyhan AA. Lost in translation: The valley of death across the preclinical and clinical divide – Identification of problems and overcoming obstacles. Transl Med Commun 2019;4:18.  Back to cited text no. 3
Blumberg RS, Dittel B, Hafler D, von Herrath M, Nestle FO. Unraveling the autoimmune translational research process layer by layer. Nat Med 2012;18:35-41.  Back to cited text no. 4
Butler D. Translational research: Crossing the valley of death. Nature 2008;453:840-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
Zarbin M. What constitutes translational research? Implications for the scope of translational vision science and technology. Transl Vis Sci Technol 2020;9:22.  Back to cited text no. 6
Loukas M. Translational research in anatomy: The future of our discipline? Tranlational Res Anat 2015;1:1.  Back to cited text no. 7
Jameson JL, Longo DL. Precision medicine – Personalized, problematic, and promising. N Engl J Med 2015;372:2229-34.  Back to cited text no. 8
Pasipoularides A. Genomic translational research: Paving the way to individualized cardiac functional analyses and personalized cardiology. Int J Cardiol 2017;230:384-401.  Back to cited text no. 9
Roberts SF, Fischhoff MA, Sakowski SA, Feldman EL. Perspective: Transforming science into medicine: How clinician-scientists can build bridges across research's “valley of death”. Acad Med 2012;87:266-70.  Back to cited text no. 10
Ioannidis JP. Why most clinical research is not useful. PLoS Med 2016;13:e1002049.  Back to cited text no. 11
Kola I, Landis J. Can the pharmaceutical industry reduce attrition rates? Nat Rev Drug Discov 2004;3:711-5.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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