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The failure of animal models of neuroprotection in acute ischemic stroke to translate to clinical efficacy

Sui-yi Xu, Su-yue Pan

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2013; 19:37-45

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.883750

Available online: 2013-01-28

Published: 2013-01-28


The discrepancy in results regarding neuroprotective agents in animal experiments compared to clinical trials is a major problem. While many neuroprotective agents have been proven effective in a variety of animal ischemic stroke models, none have been shown to work in phase III clinical trials. This review retrospectively summarizes the neuroprotectants selected for human randomized controlled trials (RCT) and explores the reasons behind the clinical translational failure of these agents. Here, we suggest that there are many factors (model selection, anesthetic choice, physiological monitoring, model success criteria, embolus property, reperfusion damage, infarction area, therapeutic time window, drug penetration, blood concentration, gender difference, and outcome evaluation) responsible for this phenomenon. Ultra-early treatment using a “home run” drug and multi-target therapy may be the most promising for future consideration.

Keywords: Stroke - drug therapy, Neuroprotective Agents - therapeutic use, Disease Models, Animal, Brain Ischemia - drug therapy, Animals, Translational Medical Research