This review article focuses on the various aspects of translational research, where research on human subjects can ultimately enhance the diagnosis and treatment of future patients. While we will use specific examples relating to the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma, it should be stressed that the general approach outlined throughout this review is readily applicable to other diseases with an underlying molecular basis. Through the integration of molecular-based technologies, systematic tissue procurement and medical informatics, we now have the ability to identify clinically applicable "genotype"-"phenotype" associations across cohorts of patients that can rapidly be translated into useful diagnostic and treatment strategies. This review will touch on the various steps in the translational pipeline, and highlight some of the most essential elements as well as possible roadblocks that can impact success of the program. Critical issues with regard to Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, data standardization, sample procurement, quality control (QC), quality assurance (QA), data analysis, preclinical models and clinical trials are addressed. The various facets of the translational pipeline have been incorporated into a fully integrated computational system, appropriately named Dx2Tx. This system readily allows for the identification of new diagnostic tests, the discovery of biomarkers and drugable targets, and prediction of optimal treatments based upon the underlying molecular basis of the disease.
Diagnosis | Translational Medical Research
Webb and Pass Journal of Translational Medicine 2004, 2:35