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Keywords:

  • Evidence-based medicine;
  • molecular medicine;
  • replication;
  • research;
  • translation

Abstract

Evidence-based medicine and molecular medicine have both been influential in biomedical research in the last 15 years. Despite following largely parallel routes to date, the goals and principles of evidence-based and molecular medicine are complementary and they should be converging. I define molecular evidence-based medicine as the study of medical information that makes sense of the advances of molecular biological disciplines and where errors and biases are properly appreciated and placed in context. Biomedical measurement capacity improves very rapidly. The exponentially growing mass of hypotheses being tested requires a new approach to both statistical and biological inference. Multidimensional biology requires careful exact replication of research findings, but indirect corroboration is often all that is achieved at best. Besides random error, bias remains a major threat. It is often difficult to separate bias from the spirit of scientific inquiry to force data into coherent and ‘significant’ biological stories. Transparency and public availability of protocols, data, analyses and results may be crucial to make sense of the complex biology of human disease and avoid being flooded by spurious research findings. Research efforts should be integrated across teams in an open, sharing environment. Most research in the future may be designed, performed, and integrated in the public cyberspace.