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On February 1, 2018, The Saban Research Institute hosted its annual symposium on “Models of Human Disease from the Laboratory to the Clinic,” which focused on the use of preclinical models—what works, what doesn’t, and why—to advance research on human diseases.
Studying organisms that range from single-celled bacteria to zebrafish to small mammals allows researchers to unravel disease processes with the expectation that observations made in one species will provide relevant insights into the biology of another species—specifically, humans. This strategy is fundamental to translational research. The use of model organisms allows investigators access to disease processes in a way that can be experimentally manipulated while protecting patients from early and repetitive testing. The vast majority of these studies could never be done in humans, for both practical and ethical reasons.
While we endeavor to protect patients and conduct relevant and transformative research using a model system, challenging questions remain, such as, which is the most appropriate model to answer a specific, biological question? Why do some model systems lead to tremendous advances in understanding that result in the development of new treatments in humans, while others do not?
The symposium featured presentations by the following distinguished group of investigators who grapple daily with the quest to move great ideas from the bench to the bedside:Keynote Speakers: