The Biomedical Data Translator Consortium announces publication of companion pieces

Prototype ‘Translator’ system shows promise and has garnered much enthusiasm roughly one year into feasibility assessment

The newly formed Biomedical Data Translator Consortium today announced the release of two inaugural publications in Clinical and Translational Science. The first paper, “Toward a Universal Biomedical Data Translator,” describes the efforts of the Consortium to develop a ‘Translator’ system designed to integrate a variety of data sources and translate the data into insights that can drive innovation and accelerate translational research. The second paper, “The Biomedical Data Translator Program: Conception, Culture, and Community,” focuses on the scientific community that has coalesced to support the program and drive research and development of the prototype Translator system.

The Consortium’s early success is likely attributable to several factors, including the fact that the biomedical research community has recently gained easier access to the myriad data sources, computational power, analytic tools, and intellectual expertise required to research and develop a Translator system. Another key factor that has contributed to the program’s success is the approach that the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has taken to conceptualizing, implementing, and managing the program.

The Consortium is aware that they are attempting something unprecedented with this project and its team science approach. “When we committed to this vision in 2016, we were well aware of its ambitious scope,” stated Christopher Austin, MD, director of NCATS, in an editorial accompanying the papers. “We, therefore, designed the program to be different in virtually every way from how National Institutes of Health research projects are typically competed, supported, and managed, and have taken an explicitly flexible and staged approach to its construction.”

NCATS and the Biomedical Data Translator Consortium anticipate the continued success of the program. “Two hundred years ago, chemists created a comprehensive enumeration of the elements and systematic relationships among them,” stated Austin. “This Periodic Table transformed chemistry by placing it on firm scientific footing. We envision the Translator doing the same for translational science.”

About the NCATS Biomedical Data Translator Program
The NCATS Biomedical Data Translator Program was launched in October 2016, with funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a center within the National Institutes of Health (NIH awards 1OT3TR002019, 1OT3TR002020, 1OT3TR002025, 1OT3TR002026, 1OT3TR002027, 1OT2TR002514, 1OT2TR002515, 1OT2TR002517, 1OT2TR002520, 1OT2TR002584). Any opinions expressed in this press release are those of the Translator community writ large and do not necessarily reflect the views of NCATS, individual Translator team members, or affiliated organizations and institutions.