From the annual Academic Surgical Congress in Ft. Meyers, Florida
I’ve spent 2 days listening to presentations that fall into primarily two categories: basic science animal studies and retrospective reviews of large patient databases. My perception was that the basic science people attended the basic science talks and the clinical people attended the clinical talks.
The term translational medicine is bandied about a lot these days but the breakdown of these presentations got me to wondering: what exactly is translational medicine anyway? How do you get from bench to bedside?
So I did a little digging. According to the NIH initiative Re-engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise,
Scientists are increasingly aware that this bench-to-bedside approach to translational research is really a two-way street. Basic scientists provide clinicians with new tools for use in patients and for assessment of their impact, and clinical researchers make novel observations about the nature and progression of disease that often stimulate basic investigations.
Thinking about the sessions that I sat through over the past 2 days, I have to wonder how ‘two-way’ that street really is. It seemed to me that basic scientists and clinicians talk more at each other than with each other. There just doesn’t seem to be much overlap between the two worlds.
What can be done to change this in real terms, not in grand initiative terms? Could it be as simple as listening and not just talking?