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Dis Model Mech. 2012 Nov;5(6):718-25. doi: 10.1242/dmm.010033.

Do stroke models model stroke?

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  • 1Department of Experimental Neurology, Charit√© Universit√§tsmedizin Berlin, Charit√©platz 1, 10098 Berlin, Germany. philipp.mergenthaler@charite.de

Abstract

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and the biggest reason for long-term disability. Basic research has formed the modern understanding of stroke pathophysiology, and has revealed important molecular, cellular and systemic mechanisms. However, despite decades of research, most translational stroke trials that aim to introduce basic research findings into clinical treatment strategies - most notably in the field of neuroprotection - have failed. Among other obstacles, poor methodological and statistical standards, negative publication bias, and incomplete preclinical testing have been proposed as 'translational roadblocks'. In this article, we introduce the models commonly used in preclinical stroke research, discuss some of the causes of failed translational success and review potential remedies. We further introduce the concept of modeling 'care' of stroke patients, because current preclinical research models the disorder but does not model care or state-of-the-art clinical testing. Stringent statistical methods and controlled preclinical trials have been suggested to counteract weaknesses in preclinical research. We conclude that preclinical stroke research requires (1) appropriate modeling of the disorder, (2) appropriate modeling of the care of stroke patients and (3) an approach to preclinical testing that is similar to clinical testing, including Phase 3 randomized controlled preclinical trials as necessary additional steps before new therapies enter clinical testing.

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