Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Journal: Translational Medicine

Science has just launched a new exciting journal entitled Translational Medicine. See the details here.

The latest issue of Science has this insightful editorial about the journal by Bruce Alberts. Here is a sample:

Knowledge accumulates as science advances, and science and technology are generating new knowledge at an increasing pace. The acceleration becomes understandable once one recognizes that new knowledge is formed by creatively combining old knowledge in new ways, and that, for example, 100 pieces of knowledge can be combined in 100 times more ways than can 10 pieces of knowledge. The most striking innovations often come from combining knowledge across disparate domains, but only a tiny fraction of such combinations will be useful, making research strategies ever more critical as science proceeds. Great science therefore resembles great art in the sense that an outstanding scientist has carefully selected a "subject" (the unsolved problem to attack) and the "brushes and paints" (the research strategy and techniques), using them to skillfully create a pleasing original "painting" (a new explanation of some aspect of the natural world).

The opportunities and the challenges in translational medicine are enormous, and constant waves of innovation will be needed to meet them. New ideas and approaches are essential. Too often, information with the potential to improve human quality of life is available only through silo-like channels. For example, cardiologists who only attend specialized meetings and read the cardiology literature, but not the physics or computer science literature, can miss an important breakthrough that could advance their own research. To stimulate innovation, we must intentionally catalyze the mixing of scientists and clinicians from different disciplines, knowing that new approaches will emerge from their interactions. Science Translational Medicine strives to increase such mixing by keeping researchers informed about relevant advances across all disciplines.

And the video below details the how journal aspires to translate the incredible advances being made in our understanding of biology into benefits for human health. Such an aspiration is vital if we are to meet the challenges we face today in the 21st century.