Special Viewpoints

Attrition and Translation

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Science  24 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5645, pp. 603-605
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090521

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The recently published NIH Roadmap proposes that public-sector science should place increased emphasis on the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics based on the fruits of fundamental research. Such “translational research” activities, traditionally the province of the private sector, have long been compromised by high rates of attrition (failure during the course of preclinical or clinical development of therapeutics). Attrition has led to growing financial costs, as well as opportunity costs. The new focus offers a way to reverse these trends, especially if the scientific community can improve on its ability to reconcile molecular genetic research with integrative organ- and organism-based research.

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