From Molecule to Patient: Building Translational Bridges Not Walls

Author: Naoto Uemura, MD, PhD on March 13, 2019


From Molecule to Patient” -- What a lovely idea! The concept of translational medicine, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics as important medical disciplines has long been said to be about the building of bridges from basic science to clinical practice. This theme of “From Molecule to Patient” makes us realize again that ours is a cross-disciplinary community where experts of diverse functions meet to improve medical practice by advancing clinical and translational science for our patients. 

The theme “From Molecule to Patient” has captured a growing diversity of new drugs and platforms. Examples of non-small molecule drugs are not only therapeutic antibodies which have already been widely evaluated and utilized in the clinic, but also therapeutic RNAs and cell-based therapies. In the era of precision medicine, drugs are designed to hit specific therapeutic targets on a molecular basis, and new modalities are expected to pick the fruits that no one was able to reach in the past. This is certainly an exciting change for all the researchers and heath care providers in the field of clinical pharmacology. New platforms, such as iPS cells, are not only expected to provide new therapeutic concepts of cell therapies for various diseases (e.g., heart disease, macular degeneration, or Parkinson’s disease, but also technological changes in how to evaluate and/or predict pharmacological or toxicological effect and pharmacokinetics of new drugs (including small molecules) in the in vitro, in vivo, and organ-on-a-chip models. The new technologies, integrated into quantitative pharmacology and pharmacometrics, should allow more precise decisions in our clinical pharmacology practice.

Although the fundamental concepts of translational medicine, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics are unchanged, the models/designs of the bridges are changing as the builders are becoming more and more diverse.  More importantly, these new bridges are not necessarily long ones but are expected to shorten the distance to get to patients. Thus, the idea of “From Molecule to Patient” is not only relevant for the joint themed issue of Clinical and Translational Science and the ASCPT 2019 Annual Meeting, but for the united identities of the field of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics.


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