In DepthEthics

Study questions animal efficacy data behind trials

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Science  13 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6385, pp. 142
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6385.142

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Summary

Before biomedical researchers can test a new therapy in humans, a review panel is typically asked to consider not just the risks, but also the potential benefits. This "therapeutic potential" is almost always based on preclinical studies in animals. But a new study suggests that review panels may have a hard time evaluating those studies because they don't receive nearly enough information. Researchers examined more than 100 brochures provided to three institutional review boards in Germany and found that the vast majority included animal efficacy studies that were unpublished or potentially vulnerable to bias. And less flattering studies seemed left out frequently, the team reports. But researchers not involved in the study are divided on the severity of the problem.

  • * Emma Yasinski is a science journalist in Jupiter, Florida.