“It is the responsibility of those of us involved in today’s biomedical research enterprise to translate the remarkable scientific innovations we are witnessing into health gains for the nation.” These words were written by Elias Zerhouni in a 2005 article on translational research for the New England Journal of Medicine. Although some time has passed since that article appeared, the truth of the statement remains, and while Zerhouni, then director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was speaking of biomedical research in its broadest terms, the same can be said about the focused field of biophotonics. There is no doubt that the field of biophotonics is accumulating a vast number of remarkable scientific innovations at the basic research stage, and that there would be a sizeable benefit to national health if these innovations were translated into clinical utility. The simple truth, however, is that very few biophotonic innovations are making their way through the translational pipeline into clinical acceptance.
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