Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline is not so sure that academia is the place for translational research, as both "the process of turning an interesting idea into a real drug target" and that of "turning an interesting compound into a real drug … involve a lot of laborious detail work, of the kind that does not mint fresh PhDs nor energize the postdocs." However, because the National Institutes of Health has recently expressed increased interest in supporting translational research — most recently by funding Clinical and Translational Science Awards at new academic sites, as our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports — Lowe is considering how that money might best be spent. "If we're breaking things down by therapeutic area, one of the most intractable and underserved is central nervous system disease," he says. "If we're looking at general translational platforms and ideas, then I would suggest trying to come up with solid small-organism models for phenotypic screening," Lowe adds. In a comment to this post, Johnnyboy says he'd like to see the NIH "gearing up to do all the assays necessary for drug candidate development," rather than funding projects involving specific drug targets or therapeutic areas. Lowe is soliciting additional suggestions at his blog. "It looks like this is going to happen, so perhaps we can at least seed this newly plowed field with something that we'd like to see when it sprouts," he says.
Return on Translational Research Investment
Jun 16, 2011