Translating academic discovery

Research results are not optimally translated into new medical therapies, despite the huge resources invested in biomedical research. The difficulties and potential remedies are illuminated in a new report of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMW) authored by Roch Ogier, Wolfgang Knecht and Martin E. Schwab.

Translational medicine is the process of bringing new inventions generated in the laboratory to the patient and to society, with the objective of improving human health. Unfortunately, a vast majority of research results are never tested in humans, and very few academic life science discoveries are translated into a change in clinical practice, new medications, diagnostics, or devices. The report shows that academia has a key role to play in translational medicine, but is still insufficiently prepared to engage in a process that is arduous and risky, requires substantial funding, in-depth drug development knowledge, appropriate structures, and long development timelines. The report identifies important opportunities for improvement. The article is the result of a series of workshops and interviews conducted in Switzerland and abroad in 2017 and 2018. It is intended to be a basis for further discussions with the academic leadership and other stakeholders to define and implement concrete measures on how to improve the situation in academia.

Read the full publication here