The Translational Research Working Group Developmental Pathways: Introduction and Overview
Ernest T. Hawk, Lynn M. Matrisian, William G. Nelson, Gary S. Dorfman, Lisa Stevens, Jennifer Kwok, Jaye Viner, Judith Hautala, and Oren Grad for the Translational Research Working Group “The Translational Research Working Group Developmental Pathways: Introduction and Overview” Clin Cancer Res. 2008 14:5664-5671
The Translational Research Working Group (TRWG) was created as a national initiative to evaluate the current status of the National Cancer Institute’s investment in translational research and envision its future in an inclusive, representative, and transparent manner. To clarify the challenges facing translational research and facilitate its deliberations, the TRWG conceptualized translational research as a set of developmental processes or pathways focused on various clinical goals. Drawing on the collective knowledge of the TRWG members, six pathways were derived, with two addressing the development of tools designed to characterize an individual’s cancer-related health status (biospecimen-based and image-based assessment modalities) and four addressing the development of interventions intended to change cancer-related health status (drugs or biological agents, immune response modifiers, interventive devices, and life-style alterations). The pathways, which share a number of common structural elements, are graphically represented by schematic flowcharts that capture relevant contingencies, decision points, and interdependencies. They are conceived not as comprehensive descriptions of the corresponding real-world processes but as tools designed to serve specific purposes including research program management and research project management, coordination of research efforts, and professional and lay education and communication. Further development of the pathways is encouraged, as is application of the pathway concept to translational research on other diseases.