Basic, discovery, validation and development research (preclinical research) are vital components of bringing new medical innovations to the people in need. These innovations include new medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and devices.
The Conversation has recently published a good lay article describing the process of bringing a new medicine to market outlining the contents included in the video below.
Preclinical research is where it all begins and is critical to get new innovations to the point where clinical trials can be undertaken.
Basic science investigates the root causes and opportunities for diseases and conditions. These in turn can lead to the discovery of potential new drug targets and opportunities for intervention. These new drug targets need to be validated as having potential to being clinically relevant, demonstrating both efficacy and safety.
Significant preclinical research efforts are required to move from cell based studies towards the identification of a new drug candidate ready for Phase 1 clinical trials.
This is high risk and the focus is not only on the “will it work” question but also on the “will it fail”. Publications are generally more interested in the “will it work” question but funding and support needs to consider both as there is little benefit in wasting resources (including the knowledge of the researcher) pursuing research into new leads that will never reach the market because it is toxic or has side effects, can’t be manufactured, is metabolised to an ineffective or dangerous form, excreted or can’t reach the drug target…….
Effectively and efficiently supporting medical research needs to consider the entire funding and support ecosystem. We can’t do this in isolation.
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