From bench to bedside: advancing pharmaceutical care

The phrase ‘from bench to bedside’ has been used to describe the process of taking advances in basic research and transferring these into clinical practice. Also referred to as translational medicines, this approach combines diverse disciplines, expertise, and techniques and has resulted in the development of therapeutic options for disease that were previously poorly managed and refined the use of existing therapies. However, in order to obtain the maximum clinical outcome by optimizing the pharmacological effects with fewer adverse reactions, further development of individualized therapy is required.

Pharmacists are asked not only to learn the recent knowledge, but also to understand the principles of individualized therapy.  In addition, the careful observations of the outcome of pharmacotherapy by pharmacists can be the initial process in the classification of patients in terms of drug reactions, which will be followed by the mechanistic analysis to provide the basis of individualized therapy.  Pharmacists can thus contribute to the development of individualized therapy.

The advances in care that stem from the ‘bench to bedside’ approach result in new demands for techniques to assist with the selection and monitoring of therapy.  Developing technologies such as point-of-care testing have the capacity to facilitate timely clinical decision making regarding patient management and may assist with delivering less costly care closer to the patient’s home. Further studies identifying novel biomarkers are expected which may combine with mathematical modelling to better understand and predict for an individual patient the pharmacological and adverse effect risks enabling the identification of the optimal time point at which pharmacotherapy should be initiated.  Critical to maximising the potential impact of these advances will be the development of electronic systems that facilitate the storage of patient records, electronic prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines, and for monitoring the efficacy and safety of medicines in use.

This topic will explore these advances and the contribution that pharmacists make in this evolving area of practice. Topic A focuses on new technologies and approaches to achieve individualized therapy, including emerging ethical dimensions associated with their implementation.