Healthcare: quality of animal studies
Van der Worp et al. Can animal models of disease reliably inform human studies? PLoS Med 2010; 7(3): e1000245.
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Summary Points
  • The value of animal experiments for predicting the effectiveness of treatment strategies in clinical trials has remained controversial, mainly because of a recurrent failure of interventions apparently promising in animal models to translate to the clinic.Translational failure may be explained in part by methodological flaws in animal studies, leading to systematic bias and thereby to inadequate data and incorrect conclusions about efficacy.
  • Failures also result because of critical disparities, usually disease specific, between the animal models and the clinical trials testing the treatment strategy.
  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies may aid in the selection of the most promising treatment strategies for clinical trials.
  • Publication bias may account for one-third or more of the efficacy reported in systematic reviews of animal stroke studies, and probably also plays a substantial role in the experimental literature for other diseases.
  • We provide recommendations for the reporting of aspects of study quality in publications of comparisons of treatment strategies in animal models of disease.