Translational research: understanding the continuum from bench to bedside.
The process of translating basic scientific discoveries to clinical applications, and ultimately to public health improvements, has emerged as an important, but difficult, objective in biomedical research. The process is best described as a "translation continuum" because various resources and actions are involved in this progression of knowledge, which advances discoveries from the bench to the bedside. The current model of this continuum focuses primarily on translational research, which is merely one component of the overall translation process. This approach is ineffective. A revised model to address the entire continuum would provide a methodology to identify and describe all translational activities (eg, implementation, adoption translational research, etc) as well their place within the continuum. This manuscript reviews and synthesizes the literature to provide an overview of the current terminology and model for translation. A modification of the existing model is proposed to create a framework called the Biomedical Research Translation Continuum, which defines the translation process and describes the progression of knowledge from laboratory to health gains. This framework clarifies translation for readers who have not followed the evolving and complicated models currently described. Authors and researchers may use the continuum to understand and describe their research better as well as the translational activities within a conceptual framework. Additionally, the framework may increase the advancement of knowledge by refining discussions of translation and allowing more precise identification of barriers to progress.