Academia does not translate research results into new medical therapies optimally, despite the huge resources invested in biomedical research. The difficulties of ensuring progression of basic scientific knowledge to patient benefit, and how to overcome the identified roadblocks are discussed in the publication of the SAMS entitled «Translating academic discovery to patients’ benefit: is academia ready to assume its key role?».
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 analysis conducted under the supervision of Martin Schwab, professor of neurosciences at the University of Zurich and ETHZ and member of the SAMS’ Executive Board (2010 – 2018), 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.