A multidisciplinary form of investigation, translational research operates at the intersection of laboratory work and clinical practice. It begins with the development of innovative therapeutics, after which it identifies appropriate test patients and administers the drug in a clinically responsible manner. This methodology represents a relatively new advancement in cancer research, prior efforts having been largely confined to the lab. However, recent progress in translational research and the development of lifesaving drugs, including groundbreaking treatments for breast cancer, have prompted an increase in funding for translational programs.
At the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center, the integrated Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics Program connects researchers and oncologists from the university's medical school as well as its top-ranked College of Pharmacy and its College of Engineering. Its efforts largely focus on rural populations in Kentucky, particularly those living in underserved regions of Appalachia. The only cancer center serving this population, it has received national recognition from the National Rural Health Association for its efforts in developing culturally connected research initiatives.