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Open AccessConference Report

Improving Translation by Identifying Evidence for More Human-Relevant Preclinical Strategies

1
SYRCLE, Department for Health Evidence (section HTA), Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Centre, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2
Unit Animals in Science and Society, Department of Population Health Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands
3
Institute for Laboratory Animal Science, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
4
ProQR Therapeutics NV, 2333 CK Leiden, The Netherlands
5
Central Animal Facility, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
6
Ethics Institute, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071170
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 2 July 2020 / Accepted: 8 July 2020 / Published: 10 July 2020
To develop new medical treatments, animal studies are used. However, there are questions and concerns about the usefulness of preclinical animal research. These so-called translational success rates vary between 0 and 100% and no clear relationship has been established with possible predictive factors such as animal species or field of research. This paper presents the main results of a conference that was organised in November 2019 as part of a research project that focuses on ways to improve predictability of translation from preclinical research to clinical studies. Based on the conference results and the findings from the research project, we define four points of attention that are crucial in the search for improved translational success rates: (a) optimising the methods and design of studies; (b) incorporation of the complexity of the human patient in research; (c) start with the patient rather than existing animal models as the gold standard; and (d) more and better collaboration within the chain from funding to pharmacy. We conclude that this requires improved organization and use of procedures, as well as a change of attitude and culture in research.
Preclinical animal studies are performed to analyse the safety and efficacy of new treatments, with the aim to protect humans. However, there are questions and concerns about the quality and usefulness of preclinical animal research. Translational success rates vary between 0 and 100%, and no clear relationship has been found with possible predictive factors such as animal species or field of research. Therefore, it is not yet possible to indicate what factors predict successful translation. Translational strategies were therefore discussed at an international conference held in the Netherlands in November 2019, aiming to develop practical guidelines for more robust animal-to-human translation. The conference was organised during the course of a research project funded by the Dutch Research Council (313-99-310), addressing possible solutions for the low translational values that had been published for a multitude of animal studies in human health care. This article provides an overview of the project and the conference discussions. Based on the conference results and the findings from the research project, we define four points of attention that are crucial in the search for improved translational success rates: (a) optimising the methods and design of studies; (b) incorporation of the complexity of the human patient in research; (c) start with the patient rather than existing animal models as the gold standard; and (d) more and better collaboration within the chain from funding to pharmacy. We conclude that this requires improved organization and use of procedures, as well as a change of attitude and culture in research, including a consideration of the translational value of animal-free innovations and human-relevant science. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal-to-human translation; systematic review; translational strategies; ethics animal-to-human translation; systematic review; translational strategies; ethics
MDPI and ACS Style

Ritskes-Hoitinga, M.; Leenaars, C.; Beumer, W.; Coenen-de Roo, T.; Stafleu, F.; Meijboom, F.L.B. Improving Translation by Identifying Evidence for More Human-Relevant Preclinical Strategies. Animals 2020, 10, 1170.

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