Translational research is where laboratory science and clinical medicine meet to develop novel therapeutics to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. Translational research is often associated with clinical trials and is the first step in bringing a new treatment, medication or technique to the market for use in the general population.
At the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center, we are able to bridge the gap between bench-to-bedside by conducting clinical trials with client-owned dogs and cats as well as horses, cows and other large animals. Conventionally, new medical advancements move from experiments with laboratory animals, such as mice, rats and pigs, directly to human clinical trials. The use of client-owned dogs and cats gives scientists and doctors a better understanding of the outcome of therapeutics in patients whose day-to-day lives more closely resemble our own. While laboratory animals live in a very controlled setting, our pets live in our homes, sometimes eat what we eat and experience the environment in a similar way that we do. Not only does translational medicine in the veterinary setting benefit the pets we aim to treat, but it brings us one step closer to treating humans with comparable disease processes.
Many diseases that occur in humans are also recognized in nonhuman species. The Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) provides the infrastructure to facilitate the translation of novel interventions from basic scientists to high quality investigations in companion animals with naturally-occurring spontaneous diseases that parallel human conditions.