Advances in medical technologies and therapeutics have had a momentous impact on our society and healthcare systems, allowing individuals suffering from various illnesses to seek vital comfort and rehabilitation. A great example to illustrate this point is how our understanding and clinical management of diabetes has evolved over time. Before the discovery of insulin in 1922 (at our very own University of Toronto!), diabetes was often a fatal disease. While we now appreciate the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet in preventing the onset of diabetes, the discovery and subsequent therapeutic application of insulin has completely changed the lives of individuals battling this disease, and was appropriately awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923. More recently, medical innovation has revolutionized the treatment of other once fatal conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, heart diseases, lung diseases, and various communicable diseases. Medical advancements such as this all start out at the same stage: with an idea.
As the focus of this issue of IMMpress Magazineis ‘Innovation & Commercialization’, the cover of this issue represents the process of medical advancement, from bench to bedside – from conception to market. Beginning with an idea – as represented by the lightbulb – a novel therapeutic must go through years of preclinical and clinical research and development before it ever sees practical use. Of course, an essential aspect of this process is the proper allocation of financial resources, funding, and a return in investments to fuel further innovation; thus, emphasizing the importance of effective commercialization of novel therapeutics. As depicted by the beautiful cover designed by Carolina, these processes are interconnected, much like a web with nodes, and occur alongside each other during the developmental process.