The purpose of preclinical research is to inform the development of novel diagnostics or therapeutics, and the results of experiments on animal models of disease often inform the decision to conduct studies in humans. However, a substantial number of clinical trials fail, even when preclinical studies have apparently demonstrated the efficacy of a given intervention. A number of large-scale replication studies are currently trying to identify the factors that influence the robustness of preclinical research. Here, we discuss replications in the context of preclinical research trajectories, and argue that increasing validity should be a priority when selecting experiments to replicate and when performing the replication. We conclude that systematically improving three domains of validity – internal, external and translational – will result in a more efficient allocation of resources, will be more ethical, and will ultimately increase the chances of successful translation.
- Natascha I Drude
- Lorena Martinez Gamboa
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Peter Rodgers, eLife, United Kingdom
- Received: September 2, 2020
- Accepted: January 12, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: January 12, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Drude et al.
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