Clinical and translational medicine (CTM) has been highly emphasized since Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, proposed “The NIH Roadmap” in 2003. CTM is an emerging area comprising multidisciplinary research from basic sciences to medical applications and entails a close collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists across institutes. It is further defined as a two-way road: bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench, to translate discoveries from the bench into clinical application and/or the translation of clinical findings into the understanding of molecular mechanisms. CTM was emphasized to play a unique and critical role in optimizing new biotechnologies, improving clinical application of new therapeutic concepts, and ultimately improving the quality of life for patients. The emergence of translational science highlights the unifying framework that bridges the continuum of knowledge creation and deployment, converting fundamental discoveries to human application, advancing the information into clinical practice, disseminating best clinical practices into communities and, ultimately, modifying the behavior of populations to improve global health.
It is of great significance to promote CTM among clinicians, basic researchers, biotechnologists, politicians, ethicists, sociologists, or investors and coordinate these efforts among different countries. CTM as an inter-disciplinary science is developing widely and become a global priority. The 2012 Sino-American Symposium on Clinical and Translational Medicine (SAS-CTM) as one of milestone conferences on CTM was organized by Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, The U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, and GlobalMD Organization. The SAS-CTM was established as a bridge between China and the U.S. to exchange ideas on clinical and translational research, built up the highest level and most influential collaboration platform, and attract the special attention from leadership and opinion leaders of academies, institutions, societies, communities, governments, investors, or regulatory offices. A number of important issues on public health, clinical research, drug development, or collaborations were addressed and discussed.