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Optimize predictive value of preclinical research

NIH–sponsored workshop calls for more detailed reporting in animal studies

Improved study design and data sharing are expected to speed therapy development


A workshop sponsored by NIH‘s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has produced a set of consensus recommendations to improve the design and reporting of animal studies.  By making animal studies easier to replicate and interpret, the workshop recommendations are expected to help funnel promising therapies to patients.

The workshop recommendations published in Nature, Oct. 10, A call for transparent reporting to optimize the predictive value of preclinical research, apply to scientific papers as well as grant applications that describe preclinical animal studies – those intended to develop and test potential therapies.

The recommendations say that all preclinical animal studies should include details about four key aspects of research methodology:
randomization, blinding, sample size estimation, and data handling

In the 1990s, concerns about under-reporting and bias in clinical studies led British and Canadian researchers to develop the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement.  It includes a 25-item checklist of vital information that researchers should provide and readers should look for in write-ups of clinical studies.  The CONSORT statement has been adopted by more than half of the core biomedical journals searchable through NIH’s index of scientific publications, PubMed.

Notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts emphasizing the importance of good study design in grant applications.
NINDS has posted a list of points for grant applicants to consider when designing and reporting experiments, and for reviewers to consider when reading grant applications.

REFERENCE:  Landis, SC et al. “A call for transparent reporting to optimize the predictive value of preclinical research.”  Nature,  October 10, 2012.  DOI: 10.1038/nature11556

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