Sunghee Cho, Ph.D., director of Preclinical Stroke Modeling at the Burke Medical Research Institute, has been invited to participate in a new international effort to improve preclinical stroke studies. The Multicenter Preclinical Animal Research Team (Multi-PART) consists of scientists from around the world who will work together to address the continued failure of preclinical stroke studies to translate into successful treatments in humans. Dr. Cho is one of five American investigators selected to represent the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke at the Multi-PART planning meetings. The next meeting will take place on April 14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
Although stroke research over the last two decades has identified over 1,000 promising targets in animal models, none have proven effective in human clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies have been withdrawing from the field. The difficulty of translational stroke research lies partly in the heterogeneous and multifactorial nature of the disease, says Dr. Cho. The Multi-PART effort proposes to conduct preclinical animal studies with the same rigor and centralized coordination required in multicenter human clinical trials. This will mean higher statistical standards, better data reporting and sharing across centers, and strategies to minimize bias. The Multi-PART planning meetings will develop and evaluate the feasibility of an international preclinical stroke network infrastructure—and there is a sense of urgency to the effort. “Doing exactly what we’ve been doing is not an option,” says Dr. Cho.