Funding for translational research flows from government agencies and through foundations and associations. At meetings around the world, the pleas go out for more researchers to join the field. Yet if you ask 10 researchers to define "translational re-search," you're likely to get 10 different definitions, ranging from "translating a laboratory discovery into a clinical application up to, but not including Phase III clinical trials" to "all research involving human beings." A middle-of-the-road but widely accepted definition is "research that takes a laboratory discovery into clinical use, then takes clinical research results back to the laboratory," hence the often used phrase "bench to bedside and back to the bench."

Although the term is ill-defined, the necessity of recruiting more researchers to bridge bench work and early clinical work is clear. Katherine High, a pediatric hematologist at University of Pennsylvania, says, "It's probably more important now than ever to train...

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