The amyloid-beta (Aβ) hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) causality is now well into its third decade and is finally entering a phase of rigorous clinical testing in numerous late stage clinical trials. The use of Aβ-based animal models of AD has been essential to the discovery and/or preclinical validation of many of these therapeutic approaches. While several neuropathologically based results from preclinical studies have translated nicely into AD patients, the full clinical value of Aβ-directed therapies awaits results from trials now in progress.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a devastating neurodegenerative disease caused by loss of motor neurons. Its pathophysiology remains unknown, but progress has been made in understanding its genetic and biochemical basis. Clinical trialists are working to translate basic science successes into human trials with more efficiency, in the hope of finding successful treatments. In the future, new preclinical models, including patient-derived stem cells may augment transgenic animal models as preclinical tools. Biomarker discovery projects aim to identify markers of disease onset and progression for use in clinical trials. New trial designs are reducing study time, improving efficiency and helping to keep pace with the increasing rate of basic and translational discoveries. Ongoing trials with novel designs are paving the way for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis clinical research.
antisense oligonucleotide; continual reassessment model; futility design study; induced pluripotent stem cells; selection design study
A substantial number of therapeutic drugs for Alzheimer's disease (AD) have failed in late-stage trials, highlighting the translational disconnect with pathology-based animal models.
To bridge the gap between preclinical animal models and clinical outcomes, we implemented a conductance-based computational model of cortical circuitry to simulate working memory as a measure for cognitive function. The model was initially calibrated using preclinical data on receptor pharmacology of catecholamine and cholinergic neurotransmitters. The pathology of AD was subsequently implemented as synaptic and neuronal loss and a decrease in cholinergic tone. The model was further calibrated with clinical Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog) results on acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and 5-HT6 antagonists to improve the model's prediction of clinical outcomes.
As an independent validation, we reproduced clinical data for apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes showing that the ApoE4 genotype reduces the network performance much more in mild cognitive impairment conditions than at later stages of AD pathology. We then demonstrated the differential effect of memantine, an N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) subunit selective weak inhibitor, in early and late AD pathology, and show that inhibition of the NMDA receptor NR2C/NR2D subunits located on inhibitory interneurons compensates for the greater excitatory decline observed with pathology.
This quantitative systems pharmacology approach is shown to be complementary to traditional animal models, with the potential to assess potential off-target effects, the consequences of pharmacologically active human metabolites, the effect of comedications, and the impact of a small number of well described genotypes.
To improve human health, scientific discoveries must be translated into practical applications. Inherent in the development of these technologies is the role of preclinical testing using animal models. Although significant insight into the molecular and cellular basis has come from small animal models, significant differences exist with regard to cardiovascular characteristics between these models and humans. Therefore, large animal models are essential to develop the discoveries from murine models into clinical therapies and interventions.
This paper will provide an overview of the more frequently used large animal models, especially porcine models for preclinical studies.
Although in vitro screens are essential for the initial identification of candidate therapeutic agents, a rigorous assessment of the drug's ability to inhibit tumor growth must be performed in a suitable animal model. The type of animal model that is best for this purpose is a topic of intense discussion. Some evidence indicates that preclinical trials examining drug effects on tumors arising in transgenic mice are more predictive of clinical outcome1and so candidate therapeutic agents are often tested in these models. Unfortunately, transgenic models are not available for many tumor types. Further, transgenic models often have other limitations such as concerns as to how well the mouse tumor models its human counterpart, incomplete penetrance of the tumor phenotype and an inability to predict when tumors will develop.
Consequently, many investigators use xenograft models (human tumor cells grafted into immunodeficient mice) for preclinical trials if appropriate transgenic tumor models are not available. Even if transgenic models are available, they are often partnered with xenograft models as the latter facilitate rapid determination of therapeutic ranges. Further, this partnership allows a comparison of the effectiveness of the agent in transgenic tumors and genuine human tumor cells. Historically, xenografting has often been performed by injecting tumor cells subcutaneously (ectopic xenografts). This technique is rapid and reproducible, relatively inexpensive and allows continuous quantitation of tumor growth during the therapeutic period2. However, the subcutaneous space is not the normal microenvironment for most neoplasms and so results obtained with ectopic xenografting can be misleading due to factors such as an absence of organ-specific expression of host tissue and tumor genes. It has thus been strongly recommended that ectopic grafting studies be replaced or complemented by studies in which human tumor cells are grafted into their tissue of origin (orthotopic xenografting)2. Unfortunately, implementation of this recommendation is often thwarted by the fact that orthotopic xenografting methodologies have not yet been developed for many tumor types.
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are highly aggressive sarcomas that occur sporadically or in association with neurofibromatosis type 13and most commonly arise in the sciatic nerve4. Here we describe a technically straightforward method in which firefly luciferase-tagged human MPNST cells are orthopically xenografted into the sciatic nerve of immunodeficient mice. Our approach to assessing the success of the grafting procedure in individual animals and subsequent non-biased randomization into study groups is also discussed.
Oxidative damage is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and stroke (brain ischemia/reperfusion injury). The availability of transgenic and toxin-inducible models of these conditions has facilitated the preclinical evaluation of putative antioxidant agents ranging from prototypic natural antioxidants such as vitamin E (α-tocopherol) to sophisticated synthetic free radical traps and catalytic oxidants. Literature review shows that antioxidant therapies have enjoyed general success in preclinical studies across disparate animal models, but little benefit in human intervention studies or clinical trials. Recent high-profile failures of vitamin E trials in Parkinson’s disease, and nitrone therapies in stroke, have diminished enthusiasm to pursue antioxidant neuroprotectants in the clinic. The translational disappointment of antioxidants likely arises from a combination of factors including failure to understand the drug candidate’s mechanism of action in relationship to human disease, and failure to conduct preclinical studies using concentration and time parameters relevant to the clinical setting. This review discusses the rationale for using antioxidants in the prophylaxis or mitigation of human neurodiseases, with a critical discussion regarding ways in which future preclinical studies may be adjusted to offer more predictive value in selecting agents for translation into human trials.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; antioxidants; Huntington’s disease; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation; Parkinson’s disease; tocopherols
Scientific research involving non‐human primates has contributed towards many advances in medicine and surgery. This review discusses its role in the progress made towards our understanding of Parkinson's disease and its treatment. Established medical treatments like dopamine agonists continue to need primate models to assess their efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action. The recently developed treatment of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus required validation in primates before entering the clinic. Controversies surrounding future treatments such as gene therapy show the need for properly evaluated preclinical research using appropriate animal models before progression to clinical trials. Research on primates has played—and continues to play—a crucial part in deepening our understanding of Parkinson's disease, improving current therapies, and developing new treatments that are both safe and effective. In animal research, the “three Rs” of humane technique—reduction, refinement, and replacement—should be adhered to.
Parkinson's disease; animals; basal ganglia; history; primates
Alzheimer disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. The amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide has become a major therapeutic target in AD on the basis of pathological, biochemical and genetic evidence that supports a role for this molecule in the disease process. Active and passive Aβ immunotherapies have been shown to lower cerebral Aβ levels and improve cognition in animal models of AD. In humans, dosing in the phase II clinical trial of the AN1792 Aβ vaccine was stopped when ~6% of the immunized patients developed meningoencephalitis. However, some plaque clearance and modest clinical improvements were observed in patients following immunization. As a result of this study, at least seven passive Aβ immunotherapies are now in clinical trials in patients with mild to moderate AD. Several second-generation active Aβ vaccines are also in early clinical trials. On the basis of preclinical studies and the limited data from clinical trials, Aβ immunotherapy might be most effective in preventing or slowing the progression of AD when patients are immunized before or in the very earliest stages of disease onset. Biomarkers for AD and imaging technology have improved greatly over the past 10 years and, in the future, might be used to identify presymptomatic, at-risk individuals who might benefit from Aβ immunization.
Preclinical animal models have supported much of the recent rapid expansion of neuroscience research and have facilitated critical discoveries that undoubtedly benefit patients suffering from psychiatric disorders. This overview serves as an introduction for the following chapters describing both in vivo and in vitro preclinical models of psychiatric disease components and briefly describes models related to drug dependence and affective disorders. Although there are no perfect animal models of any psychiatric disorder, models do exist for many elements of each disease state or stage. In many cases, the development of certain models is essentially restricted to the human clinical laboratory domain for the purpose of maximizing validity, whereas the use of in vitro models may best represent an adjunctive, well-controlled means to model specific signaling mechanisms associated with psychiatric disease states. The data generated by preclinical models are only as valid as the model itself, and the development and refinement of animal models for human psychiatric disorders continues to be an important challenge. Collaborative relationships between basic neuroscience and clinical modeling could greatly benefit the development of new and better models, in addition to facilitating medications development.
Animal model; Anxiety; Depression; Drug addiction; Preclinical model; Psychiatric disorders; Stress
Animal models with high predictive power are a prerequisite for translational research. The closer the similarity of a model to Parkinson’s disease (PD), the higher is the predictive value for clinical trials. An ideal PD model should present behavioral signs and pathology that resemble the human disease. The increasing understanding of PD stratification and etiology, however, complicates the choice of adequate animal models for preclinical studies. An ultimate mouse model, relevant to address all PD-related questions, is yet to be developed. However, many of the existing models are useful in answering specific questions. An appropriate model should be chosen after considering both the context of the research and the model properties. This review addresses the validity, strengths, and limitations of current PD mouse models for translational research.
The initial Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) recommendations published in 1999 were intended to improve the quality of preclinical studies of purported acute stroke therapies. Although recognized as reasonable, they have not been closely followed nor rigorously validated. Substantial advances have occurred regarding the appropriate quality and breadth of preclinical testing for candidate acute stroke therapies for better clinical translation. The updated STAIR preclinical recommendations reinforce the previous suggestions that reproducibly defining dose response and time windows with both histological and functional outcomes in multiple animal species with appropriate physiological monitoring is appropriate. The updated STAIR recommendations include: the fundamentals of good scientific inquiry should be followed by eliminating randomization and assessment bias, a priori defining inclusion/exclusion criteria, performing appropriate power and sample size calculations, and disclosing potential conflicts of interest. After initial evaluations in young, healthy male animals, further studies should be performed in females, aged animals, and animals with comorbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. Another consideration is the use of clinically relevant biomarkers in animal studies. Although the recommendations cannot be validated until effective therapies based on them emerge from clinical trials, it is hoped that adherence to them might enhance the chances for success.
preclinical; stroke models; therapy
The Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research (UCLA-Easton Alzheimer’s Center) is committed to the “therapeutic imperative” and is devoted to finding new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to developing technologies (biomarkers) to advance that goal. The UCLA-Easton Alzheimer’s Center has a continuum of research and research-related activities including basic/foundational studies of peptide interactions; translational studies in transgenic animals and other animal models of AD; clinical research to define the phenotype of AD, characterize familial AD, develop biomarkers, and advance clinical trials; health services and outcomes research; and active education, dissemination, and recruitment activities. The UCLA-Easton Alzheimer’s Center is supported by the National Institutes on Aging, the State of California, and generous donors who share our commitment to developing new therapies for AD. The naming donor (Jim Easton) provided substantial funds to endow the center and to support projects in AD drug discovery and biomarker development. The Sidell-Kagan Foundation supports the Katherine and Benjamin Kagan Alzheimer’s Treatment Development Program, and the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer’s Research Foundation supports the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics at UCLA. The John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Research Foundation provides grants to junior investigators in critical periods of their academic development. The UCLA-Easton Alzheimer’s Center partners with community organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association California Southland Chapter and the Leeza Gibbons memory Foundation. Collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and device companies is critical to developing new therapeutics for AD and these collaborations are embraced in the mission of the UCLA-Easton Alzheimer’s Center. The Center supports excellent senior investigators and serves as an incubator for new scientists, agents, models, technologies and concepts that will significantly influence the future of AD treatment and AD research.
Most therapeutic agents used in clinical practice today were originally developed and tested in animal models so that drug toxicity and safety, dose-responses and efficacy could be determined. Retrospective analyses of preclinical intervention studies using animal models of different diseases demonstrate that only a small percentage of the interventions reporting promising effects translate to clinical efficacy. The failure to translate therapeutic efficacy from bench to bedside may be due, in part, to shortcomings in the design of the clinical studies; however, it is becoming clear that much of the problem resides within the preclinical studies. One potential strategy for improving our ability to identify new therapeutics that may have a reasonable chance of success in well-controlled clinical trials is to identify the most relevant mouse models IBD and pharmacologic strategies that most closely mimic the clinical situation. To begin this process, we present a critical evaluation of the different mouse models and pharmacological approaches that may be used in intervention studies as well as discuss emerging issues related to study design and data interpretation of preclinical studies.
small molecules; therapeutics; biologics; cytokines; cell-based therapy; T-cells; regulatory T-cells; blood flow
In drug development, phase 1 first-in-human studies represent a major milestone as the drug moves from preclinical discovery to clinical development activities. The safety of human subjects is paramount to the conduct of these studies and regulatory considerations guide activities. Forces of evolution on the pharmaceutical industry are re-shaping the first-in-human dose selection strategy. Namely, high attrition rates in part due to lack of efficacy have led to the re-organization of research and development organizations around the umbrella of translational research. Translational research strives to bring basic research advances into the clinic and support the reverse transfer of information to enhance compound selection strategies. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling holds a unique position in translational research by attempting to integrate diverse sets of information. PK/PD modeling has demonstrated utility in dose selection and trial design for later stages of drug development and is now being employed with greater prevalence in the translational research setting to manage risk (i.e., oncology and inflammation/immunology). Moving from empirical Emax models to more mechanistic representations of the biological system, a higher fidelity of human predictions is expected. Strategies that have proven useful for PK predictions are being applied to PK/PD predictions. This review article examines examples of the application of PK/PD modeling in establishing target concentrations for supporting first-in-human study design.
biomarker; drug development; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; PK/PD; translation
The Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) provided initial (in 1999) and updated (in 2009) recommendations with the goal of improving preclinical stroke therapy assessment and to increase the translational potential of experimental stroke treatments. It is important for preclinical stroke researchers to frequently consider and revisit these concepts, especially since promising experimental stroke treatments continue to fail in human clinical trials. Therefore, this paper will focus on considerations for several key aspects of preclinical stroke studies including the selection and execution of the animal stroke model, drug/experimental treatment administration, and outcome measures to improve experimental validity and translation potential. Specific points of interest discussed include the incorporation of human comorbid conditions and drugs, the benefits of defining a proposed mechanism of action, replication of results using multiple methods, using clinically relevant routes of administration and treatment time windows, and performing and reporting good experimental methods to reduce bias such as, as suggested by the updated STAIR recommendations, sample size calculations, randomization, allocation concealment, blinding, and appropriate inclusion/exclusion criteria. It is our hope that reviewing and revisiting these considerations will benefit researchers in their investigations of stroke therapies and increase the likelihood of translational success in the battle against stroke.
Despite great advances in basic neuroscience knowledge, the improved understanding of brain functioning has not yet led to the introduction of truly novel pharmacological approaches to the treatment of central nervous system disorders. This situation has been partly attributed to the difficulty of predicting efficacy in patients based on results from preclinical studies. To address these issues, this review critically discusses the traditional role of animal models in drug discovery, the difficulties encountered, and the reasons why this approach has led to suboptimal utilization of the information animal models provide. The discussion focuses on how animal models can contribute most effectively to translational medicine and drug discovery and the changes needed to increase the probability of achieving clinical benefit. Emphasis is placed on the need to improve the flow of information from the clinical/human domain to the preclinical domain and the benefits of using truly translational measures in both preclinical and clinical testing. Few would dispute the need to move away from the concept of modeling CNS diseases in their entirety using animals. However, the current emphasis on specific dimensions of psychopathology that can be objectively assessed in both clinical populations and animal models has not yet provided concrete examples of successful preclinical-clinical translation in CNS drug discovery. The purpose of this review is to strongly encourage ever more intensive clinical and preclinical interactions to ensure that basic science knowledge gained from improved animal models with good predictive and construct validity readily becomes available to the pharmaceutical industry and clinical researchers to benefit patients as quickly as possible.
Preclinical evaluation of antibody-based immunotherapies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in animal models is often hampered by the fact that the human antibody drug does not cross-react with its mouse counterpart. In this issue of Science Translational Medicine, researchers describe a new mouse model that expresses the human isoform of a molecule targeted by T1D antibody therapies that are currently being tested in clinical trials—the human epsilon chain of the CD3 complex expressed on T cells. Anti-CD3 is capable of reducing insulin needs in individuals with recently diagnosed T1D; however, the precise underlying mechanisms of action and the minimal effective dose have been difficult to define. The new humanized mouse model will be instrumental in optimizing anti-CD3–based therapies and accelerating their clinical realization.
The identification of genes linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease (HD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) has led to the development of animal models for studying mechanism and evaluating potential therapies. None of the transgenic models developed based on disease-associated genes have been able to fully recapitulate the behavioral and pathological features of the corresponding disease. However, there has been enormous progress made in identifying potential therapeutic targets and understanding some of the common mechanisms of neurodegeneration. In this review, we will discuss transgenic animal models for AD, ALS, HD and PD that are based on human genetic studies. All of the diseases discussed have active or complete clinical trials for experimental treatments that benefited from transgenic models of the disease.
ALS; PD; AD; HD; Huntington's disease; Parkinson's disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Alzheimer's disease; Transgenic; Animal model; Neurodegeneration; Genetic linkage
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes secondary biochemical changes that contribute to subsequent tissue damage and associated neuronal cell death. Neuroprotective treatments that limit secondary tissue loss and/or improve behavioral outcome have been well established in multiple animal models of TBI. However, translation of such neuroprotective strategies to human injury have been disappointing, with more than thirty controlled clinical trials having failed. Both conceptual issues and methodological differences between preclinical and clinical injury have undoubtedly contributed to these translational difficulties. More recently, changes in experimental approach, as well as altered clinical trial methodologies, have raised cautious optimism regarding outcomes of future clinical trials. Here, we critically review developing experimental neuroprotective strategies that show promise and propose criteria for improving the probability of successful clinical translation.
We advance Baby STEPS or Stem cell Therapeutics as an Emerging Paradigm for Stroke as a guide in facilitating the critical evaluation in the laboratory of the safety and efficacy of cell therapy for neonatal encephalopathy. The need to carefully consider the clinical relevance of the animal models in mimicking human neonatal brain injury, selection of the optimal stem cell donor, and the application of functional outcome assays in small and large animal models serve as the foundation for preclinical work and beginning to understand the mechanism of this cellular therapy. The preclinical studies will aid our formulation of a rigorous human clinical trial which encompasses not only efficacy testing but also monitoring of safety indices and demonstration of mechanisms of action. This schema forms the basis of Baby STEPS. Our goal is to resonate the urgent call to enhance the successful translation of cell therapy from the laboratory to the clinic.
The development of tissue engineering therapies for the intervertebral disc is challenging due to ambiguities of disease and pain mechanisms in patients, and lack of consensus on preclinical models for safety and efficacy testing. Although the issues associated with model selection for studying orthopedic diseases or treatments have been discussed often, the multifaceted challenges associated with developing intervertebral disc tissue engineering therapies require special discussion. This review covers topics relevant to the clinical translation of tissue-engineered technologies: (1) the unmet clinical need, (2) appropriate models for safety and efficacy testing, (3) the need for standardized model systems, and (4) the translational pathways leading to a clinical trial. For preclinical evaluation of new therapies, we recommend establishing biologic plausibility of efficacy and safety using models of increasing complexity, starting with cell culture, small animals (rats and rabbits), and then large animals (goat and minipig) that more closely mimic nutritional, biomechanical, and surgical realities of human application. The use of standardized and reproducible experimental procedures and outcome measures is critical for judging relative efficacy. Finally, success will hinge on carefully designed clinical trials with well-defined patient selection criteria, gold-standard controls, and objective outcome metrics to assess performance in the early postoperative period.
Preclinical development encompasses the activities that link drug discovery in the laboratory to initiation of human clinical trials. Preclinical studies can be designed to identify a lead candidate from several hits; develop the best procedure for new drug scale-up; select the best formulation; determine the route, frequency, and duration of exposure; and ultimately support the intended clinical trial design. The details of each preclinical development package can vary, but all have some common features. Rodent and nonrodent mammalian models are used to delineate the pharmacokinetic profile and general safety, as well as to identify toxicity patterns. One or more species may be used to determine the drug's mean residence time in the body, which depends on inherent absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion properties. For drugs intended to treat Alzheimer's disease or other brain-targeted diseases, the ability of a drug to cross the blood brain barrier may be a key issue. Toxicology and safety studies identify potential target organs for adverse effects and define the Therapeutic Index to set the initial starting doses in clinical trials. Pivotal preclinical safety studies generally require regulatory oversight as defined by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Good Laboratory Practices and international guidelines, including the International Conference on Harmonisation. Concurrent preclinical development activities include developing the Clinical Plan and preparing the new drug product, including the associated documentation to meet stringent FDA Good Manufacturing Practices regulatory guidelines. A wide range of commercial and government contract options are available for investigators seeking to advance their candidate(s). Government programs such as the Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants and the National Institutes of Health Rapid Access to Interventional Development Pilot Program provide funding and services to assist applicants in preparing the preclinical programs and documentation for their drugs. Increasingly, private foundations are also funding preclinical work. Close interaction with the FDA, including a meeting to prepare for submission of an Investigational New Drug application, is critical to ensure that the preclinical development package properly supports the planned phase I clinical trial.
Translational stroke research is a challenging task that needs long term team work of the stroke research community. Highly reproducible stroke models with excellent outcome consistence are essential for obtaining useful data from preclinical stroke trials as well as for improving inter-lab comparability. However, our review of literature shows that the infarct variation coefficient of commonly performed stroke models ranges from 5% to 200%. An overall improvement of the commonly used stroke models will further improve the quality for experimental stroke research as well as inter-lab comparability. Many factors play a significant role in causing outcome variation; however, they have not yet been adequately addressed in the Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) recommendations and the Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). These critical factors include selection of anesthetics, maintenance of animal physiological environment, stroke outcome observation, and model specific factors that affect success rate and variation. The authors have reviewed these major factors that have been reported to influence stroke model outcome, herewith, provide the first edition of stroke model guidelines so to initiate active discussion on this topic. We hope to reach a general agreement among stroke researchers in the near future with its successive updated versions.
Acute stroke; animal model; neuroprotection; middle cerebral artery occlusion; guidelines; consistency
Neuroprotection aims to prevent salvageable neurons from dying. Despite showing efficacy in experimental stroke studies, the concept of neuroprotection has failed in clinical trials. Reasons for the translational difficulties include a lack of methodological agreement between preclinical and clinical studies and the heterogeneity of stroke in humans compared to homogeneous strokes in animal models. Even when the international recommendations for preclinical stroke research, the Stroke Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) criteria, were followed, we have still seen limited success in the clinic, examples being NXY-059 and haematopoietic growth factors which fulfilled nearly all the STAIR criteria. However, there are a number of neuroprotective treatments under investigation in clinical trials such as hypothermia and ebselen. Moreover, promising neuroprotective treatments based on a deeper understanding of the complex pathophysiology of ischemic stroke such as inhibitors of NADPH oxidases and PSD-95 are currently evaluated in preclinical studies. Further concepts to improve translation include the investigation of neuroprotectants in multicenter preclinical Phase III-type studies, improved animal models, and close alignment between clinical trial and preclinical methodologies. Future successful translation will require both new concepts for preclinical testing and innovative approaches based on mechanistic insights into the ischemic cascade.
neuroprotection; ischemic stroke; translation; STAIR; ischemic cascade
Discoveries in the pre-clinical neurosciences have set the stage for bringing new therapies to patients affected by neurological disorders. The National lnstitute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is dedicated to promoting the development of new therapies through its funding programs that range from basic neuroscience to translational research and finally clinical research to test the most promising new therapies in patients. In an effort to accelerate the translation of new discoveries to clinical practice, NINDS is piloting novel organizational strategies. In translational research, NINDS is taking the lead on the establishment of a ‘virtual pharma' structure, through which researchers will partner with the NIH to accelerate the progress of drug development from early hit discovery through phase 1 clinical trials. In clinical research, the new Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials (NeuroNEXT) aims to promote the efficient implementation of scientifically sound, biomarker-informed phase 2 clinical trials that can be initiated by academic or industry investigators.