In the realm of cancer research, every discovery is significant for its potential use against a dreaded disease. Hence the rising global emphasis on “translational research,” which the National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines as transforming scientific discoveries from laboratory, clinical and population studies into medical applications for reducing cancer incidence, morbidity or mortality.
These discoveries typically begin in the laboratory with basic research in which scientists study disease at the molecular or cellular level and make observations that can be translated to patient care via clinical trials that test the safety and effectiveness of new medications in cancer patients with few or no other treatment options. But translational research is really circular, because clinicians then make novel observations about how the new medications work in their patients and relay this knowledge back to the laboratory, often stimulating further basic science investigations.
With our strong focus on collaboration between basic and clinical researchers, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) provides an ideal atmosphere for translational research. Collaboration here is evident in everything from our standing as one of the most comprehensive health sciences institutions in the United States, to our emphasis on open labs and shared resources that promote working across disciplines and efficient use of research funding, to our creation of biomedical informatics data banks that help us share our discoveries across the University and around the world.
To streamline this collaborative process, the OSUCCC-James has created an Associate Director for Translational Research position held by Guido Marcucci, MD, a renowned oncologist and researcher who in his leadership role helps our basic science investigators move their ideas forward to clinical trials or effective diagnostics that predict whether cancer will develop and how it will behave. Dr. Marcucci helps us maintain a mutually supportive balance among our basic, clinical, population and translational studies – a balance that ultimately enables us to make discoveries and convert them to innovative patient care that we can continuously refine.