Monday, 24 September 2012

Translation at its best?

The key word in science nowadays is Translation i.e. how to get something useful from a scientific discovery. There is still some merit in finding out facts just for the sake of finding out facts - after all we need to make a discovery first before one is able to extract value out of it.
The concept of Translation is now given great importance because I suppose it is that part of science that drives economic growth or in medicine leads to better outcomes. Translation has always been the main Raison d'etre for my liking of science. This is one reason I really like papers like this one  -  and it pleases me to see that the main author is a chairman of Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Colorado School of Medicine - it strikes me that Professor Wischmeyer is fulfilling his role rather well.  Another reason for appreciating this paper is its simplicity - no expensively acquired, parenterally administered complex monoclonal antibodies - just a simple inexpensive orally taken small molecule - it's nearly too good to be true.
Translating positive studies of myocardial preservation from small animal models to humans is fraught with difficulty. Some cardiac surgeons may also argue that the methods we have to preserve the human heart during iatrogenic periods of ischaemia are already very good and that we do not need anything new. That is probably true for a significant number of cases in as much as deaths from poor heart preservation are very rare.  However, they still occur and more importantly, the nonlethal effects of myocardial preservation injury cost alot to treat requiring expensive intensive or high dependancy care. Any study of an intervention that demonstrates an improvement in the markers of myocardial injury sustained in heart surgery cannot be ignored - especially when the intervention is so simple.