Cancer Discoveries Translated from Lab to Patient Bedside

Need an English phrase translated into Spanish? Multiple online tools will fix you right up. How about translating a text message into spoken words? There’s an app for that, too.

And when it comes to the latest cancer research, discoveries and treatments, something called translational research is leading the charge to move us closer to a cancer-free world.

According to The James CEO Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, translational research involves taking a discovery across multiple channels to reach the patient’s bedside for more effective cancer care.

“We usually refer to it as a discovery made in the laboratory,” said Dr. Caligiuri, “that ‘A-ha!’ moment that then gets taken step by step, carefully, safely, all the way to the patient, where we have a new drug or treatment for his or her cancer.”

The translation can work from the patient’s bedside back to the lab, too. “A physician may observe something at the bedside and take that back into the laboratory to better understand the how and why of it,” Caligiuri says.

In fact, so important is translational research to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and cure, that the new James facility (the 21-level hospital that integrates collaboration and research into clinical cancer care and is slated to open this year), will have a research space on every inpatient floor. What does that mean for each patient?

“Innovation,” Caligiuri says. “Everyone wants to be cured of cancer. And now, those three words, ‘You have cancer,’ are often followed by, ‘But I’ve got good news.’ That happens because of research and bringing those discoveries to the patients so they have the latest innovation to care for their cancer.”

The more than 200 nationally and internationally renowned physicians at The James – each of whom specializes in one specific cancer – offer an enormous breadth and depth of expertise and knowledge pertaining to their fields. And with each floor of the new James dedicated to a specific cancer, all of the physicians and specialists on that floor will be working collaboratively across the channels of research, discovery and treatment to ensure that every patient benefits from the bench-to-bedside, customized approach to patient care.

“No cancer is routine,” says Caligiuri. “If 10 people have colon cancer, the presentation, side effects from chemo, and perhaps most importantly, the cause of that cancer can be different. So you want someone who has seen it all, that all they do is colon cancer.

“And we have the same thing for breast, lung, prostate – every type of cancer we see here, we have experts for it,” he continues. “That means the patient is getting true expertise, knowledge and vast experience, all of which translates from research to the bedside.  And all of that results in improving outcomes, faster responses, fewer side effects and more hope.”

To learn more about translational research, <a href="http://youtu.be/-KRUaeOK8zE">watch this week's segment of Toward a Cancer-Free World</a>.