Medical Research

Medical research can be divided into four main areas:

  • Epidemiology
  • Basic Research
  • Translational Research
  • Clinical Trials

These four areas cover everything from a better understanding of a disease by looking at populations (epidemiology) to the understanding of how a cell and all of its molecular machinery work (basic science).


The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta currently partners with the Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health on population studies related to children. The hope is that by looking at potential trends in those children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders, we can identify a potential cause for the disease and ultimately a cure.

Basic Research

Basic research, or “basic discovery of cellular machinery,” is the primary focus of basic science departments in a premiere medical school such as Emory University. The Aflac Cancer Center works closely with Emory University’s basic researchers to bridge their efforts under the microscope with the translational research and clinical trials being conducted at the Aflac Cancer Center.

Translational Research

Translational research is the interface between basic research and clinical trials. This laboratory-based research is aimed at achieving a better understanding of how normal cellular machinery goes awry in various diseases, such as sickle cell disease and childhood cancer. This type of research uses information (translation) to develop better, more novel treatments deemed at restoring normal cellular machinery.

Clinical Trials

During the past five years, the Aflac Cancer Center has substantially invigorated its clinical trial program. The Aflac Cancer Center maintains a strong presence in national clinical trials, where the main emphasis is in perfecting the best treatments for newly diagnosed children with various diseases such as cancer, sickle cell disease or hemophilia. In addition, we have recruited a team of childhood cancer and blood disorder doctors who are experts in clinical trials, including initiating and leading new ones in Georgia.