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The translation of biomedical research knowledge to effective clinical treatment is essential to the public good and is a main focus of current health policy. However, recent health policy initiatives intended to foster the translation of basic science into clinical and public health advances must also consider the unique bioethical issues raised by the increased focus on translational research. Safety of study participants and balancing of risk due to treatment with the potential benefits of the research is tantamount. This article synthesizes theory from clinical ethics, operational design, and philosophy to provide a bioethical framework for the health policy of translational research.