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What is translational medicine?

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Translational medicine, also known as “bench-to-bedside”, is the collaboration of the biomedical research field and traditional healthcare professionals in order to develop new and innovative ways to improve the diagnosis of patients and the corresponding methods of treatment. Due to this collaboration, the process of research, application, and results of patient treatment becomes more effective.


In the 1990’s, this phrase started to be used in the clinical world. However, it wasn’t until the 2000’s that translational medicine started to gain notoriety within the field. The idea was to provide better patient treatment though more effective research by locating laboratory, research, engineering, and clinical functions closer to one another within the same physical setting. Laboratory research, at the time, was focused on providing treatment for a broad range of conditions and wasn’t tailored to specific patient needs. The result of this methodology was a general treatment for a large population of patients which provided various levels of effectiveness for each patient and did not always provide the desired outcome. Not only did the research not always provide meaningful improvements, but the research wasn’t always a quick and efficient process. The rapid advances in current research technology as well as increase in clinical knowledge have created a scenario where the ability to generate effective treatment for a specific patient is limited only by the speed at which information and knowledge can be communicated.

Why Do We Need Translational Medicine?

Due to the various disciplines involved in the medical field; scientists, researchers, and doctors typically work in their own unique setting and may not even be in the same city as one another much less in the same building. The benefits that result in bringing researchers and clinical staff together include collaboration, efficiency, and ease of communication. With the ability to have each type of personnel within the same building, the ability to create and provide the most effective treatment for a specific patient is greatly increased, thus also increasing the efficiency of the process. This also increases the communication involved within the medical field which can increase the knowledge of all the parties involved including the patient. They more information that is shared and discussed, the better result for the current patients and future patients to come.

What Comes Next?

The difficulty in introducing these multiple disciplines though transitional medicine, is designing a building to contain the various types of spaces they require to produce their work. Each discipline comes with their own design requirements, codes, regulations and challenges that require design teams to provide an extra level of coordination to provide a solution that meets each specific need while providing a comfortable space for the patient.

Be on the lookout for Guide 11 which will provide an in-depth discussion of what those requirements and challenges are, resulting in space designs typically seen when transitioning to translational facility design instead of a hospital or laboratory facility.

Written by:

Joseph Merullo Project Manager | Mechanical Project Engineer Fitzemeyer & Tocci Associates, Inc. Contact | Connect with Vernon


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