Clinical translation

Clinical translation

Clinician scientist with patient
Our research aims to improve health outcomes. Clinical translation converts basic research discoveries into better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. We are facilitating linkages between clinicians and laboratory researchers, and supporting clinical research.

 

Our clinical translation

We are committed to harnessing the talent of our researchers to deliver real healthcare improvements. Our Clinical Translation Centre fosters linkages between our laboratory researchers and clinicians.

Key aspects of our clinical translation program are:

  • Supporting the involvement of clinician-scientists in our research programs.
  • Enabling our researchers’ involvement in the development, delivery and evaluation of clinical trials.
  • Facilitating the collection and analysis of human samples for approved research.

More than 100 current clinical trials are based on discoveries made at the institute.

What is clinical translation?

Clinical translation is research that leads to better understanding of disease, and/or development of new diagnostic tests or treatments.

Clinical translation may involve:

  • Measuring the impact of a new strategy to prevent, treat or diagnose a disease in humans, using a clinical trial.
  • Analysing human samples, such as those taken from people with a certain disease.
  • Matching the genetic information (genome sequence) of a patient with features of their disease.

How do laboratory discoveries reach the clinic?

Many discoveries that have benefited the health of the community arose from basic laboratory research. Understanding how molecules, cells and tissues normally function gives insights into what goes wrong in disease.

Discovering how a disease develops can lead to new ways to prevent, treat and diagnose that disease. These are collectively called ‘interventions’.

Preclinical studies are used to test a proposed intervention in the laboratory, using patient samples or models that are similar to the diseased cells.

Clinical trials enable testing of the new intervention in people who have volunteered for the trial. Most clinical trials are conducted in stages:

Phase I: Tests the safety of the intervention in a small number of people, and whether the intervention works as intended.
Phase II: Determines how well the intervention can work.
Phase III: Uses a larger group of people to measure the overall benefits of the new intervention, comparing it with no intervention, or other existing interventions.

If an intervention shows success through all the stages of a clinical trial, it may then need government approval before it is available to the public. In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration assesses the outcomes of clinical trials to approve new treatments, diagnostic tests or other interventions.

It often takes years or decades for a laboratory discovery to be translated into an improvement in healthcare. The successful outcomes of clinical trials requires:

  • The intervention to be effective and improve health outcomes.
  • Funding for the significant costs of conducting clinical trials. This is why many clinical trials are conducted with investment from pharmaceutical companies.

Who can participate in research?

Research participants are integral to clinical translation. These people must be:

  • Willing to participate and able to attend a study or trial location.
  • Fully informed about what their participation involves including any foreseeable risks.
  • Aware of their rights to withdraw from the study.
  • Eligible to participate in the study by meeting specified criteria, such as clinical diagnosis, medical history, or age.

Information about current clinical trials is available from:

By joining the Volunteer Blood Donor Registry you can contribute to medical research aimed at preventing, treating and curing disease.

Governance of clinical translation

All research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute that involves people is overseen by our Human Research Ethics Committee. The committee’s operation is approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and conforms to the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans (2007)

Translational research at the institute is facilitated by our Clinical Translation Standing Committee. This committee:

  • Provides advice on translational and clinical research.
  • Assists with the operation of the Clinical Translation Centre.
  • Contributes to the recruitment and support of medically qualified researchers at the institute.

Consumer involvement

Wherever possible, we aim to involve ‘consumers’ in our research. A consumer is a person who has been affected by a disease. They may have:

  • Suffered the disease themselves or
  • Cared for a family member or friend with the disease.

The conduct of medical research can be improved by considering consumers’ personal and professional experiences. This can:

  • Strengthen medical research design.
  • Improve the communication of results to the community.
  • Ensure research addresses questions that are important for consumers.
  • Educate researchers to understand their disease fully from a consumer point of view.

Our Consumer Advisory Panel has been established to better connect our research with community experiences of disease and consumer expectations. 

Researchers: 

Dr Gwo Yaw Ho

Dr Gwo Yaw Ho in the lab
Dr
Gwo Yaw
Ho
Clinician Scientist

Dr Marc Pellegrini

Dr Marc Pellegrini in the lab
Dr
Marc
Pellegrini
Joint Division Head

Professor Andrew Roberts

Professor Andrew Roberts in the lab
Professor
Andrew
Roberts
Head of Clinical Translation

Dr Ben Tran

Ben Tran
Dr
Ben
Tran
Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Jason Tye-Din

Jason Tye-Din
Dr
Jason
Tye-Din
Laboratory Head

Dr John Wentworth

Dr John Wentworth in the lab
Dr
John
Wentworth
Clinician Scientist
Volunteer Blood Donor Registry video

Volunteers are needed to donate blood to medical research

Dr Marc Pellegrini in the lab

Our research has led to a potential new treatment that kills cells infected with hepatitis B.

Sample test tubes in ice

If you are aged between 18 and 80 and have been diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) or X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), we invite you to contact our research team.