Thursday, 27 March 2014

Misleading mouse studies waste medical resources

Retrospective of more than 100 failed drugs show many should have never made it to clinical trials.
26 March 2014

A running joke among health researchers is that everything has been cured — in mice. However that may not be always true.

The failure of experimental drugs that had once looked promising could have been prevented with better animal studies, according to a re-examination of past clinical trials.

“I hear too many stories about patients who have used their one shot at getting into a trial on a drug that didn’t have enough legs to begin with, and that’s a tragedy,” says Steve Perrin, an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) researcher who led the work.

Perrin, chief scientific officer of the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used mice with symptoms similar to ALS to test more than 100 compounds that had previously been identified as candidate drugs. Most — including eight that had shown promise in previous mouse work but ultimately failed in humans trials — failed to slow the progressive, fatal degenerative disease, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease.

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