PerspectivePreclinical Studies

Extrapolating from Animals to Humans

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Science Translational Medicine  12 Sep 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 151, pp. 151ps15
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004631


  • Fig. 1.

    Animal instincts. Half-horse, half-human, the mythological centaur Chiron (root, chirourgos: surgeon) taught all of the great heroes with skills related to human health (Jason, Peleus, Asklepios, and Achilles). Following in this tradition, most animal studies are performed to gain insights into human physiology, pathophysiology, and response to new therapies. Unfortunately, many other centaurs (like the female centaur shown here) were more biased and profligate.



  • Table 1.

    Making animal research credible.

    Minimize publication and selective-reporting biasesConsider preregistration of animal studies (especially experimental trials); promote work done by all-inclusive, publicly visible consortia.
    Improve study design, conduct, and reportingUse appropriate design and statistical methods; avoid over-interpretation; maximize transparency; fully document all anticipated, iterative, or exploratory steps in the research; use standard reporting guidelines [for example, ARRIVE (15)].
    Make raw data, analyses, and protocols availableAllow other investigators to see the full workflow and to repeat the analyses, if need be, to verify results and integrate them with other parallel or future efforts.

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