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China is slow to turn lab results into drugs, therapies

CHINA ranks second after the United States in the number of articles published in medical journals, but it ranks 13th in applying research results in clinical practice, Health Minister Chen Zhu told a Sino-US forum on translational medicine in Shanghai yesterday. Chen said Chinese medical experts must speed up the translation of basic research and laboratory achievements into drugs and therapies to enhance public health and upgrade the diagnosis and treatment of non-contagious diseases and emerging infectious diseases. "It is also the requirement of China's ongoing health reform, which calls for more cost-efficient diagnosis and treatment to relieve people's financial burden," Chen said. "Many of our researches have not brought benefits to the public," Chen told the three-day forum which opened yesterday. Experts said translational medicine should focus on non-contagious diseases like stroke, cancer, hypertension and diabetes because NCD causes more than 80 percent of annual deaths in China and are responsible for 49 percent of the loss of life expectancy.Cancer, diabetes, obesity, food-borne disease, mental illness, emerging infectious disease, occupational diseases and smoking are the most in need of innovative drugs, equipment and treatment. Translational medicine can play a key role in new drug development, biomarker discovery and molecular imaging technology. Over 400 Chinese and American medical experts, scientists, pharmaceutical company representatives and government officials participated in the forum.

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