30 Neuroscience Institutes and Companies Call on Funding Agencies and Publishing Groups to Adopt New Methodological Reporting Standards

October 11, 2012

The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced today that its CEO and CSO, Steve Perrin, Ph.D., coauthored a paper with members from neuroscience-focused organizations which published in the October 11, 2012 issue of the journal Nature. The international, cross-sector group makes new recommendations for the bare minimum reporting to be adopted by funding and publishing groups.

The paper entitled, “A call for transparent reporting to optimize the predictive value of preclinical research,” resulted from a US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) meeting earlier this year and outlines how to improve the methodological reporting of animal studies in grant applications and publications, including recommendations for a core set of reporting standards for rigorous study design.

“We owe it to patients today to conduct our preclinical research both as rapidly and rigorously as possible. We can’t allow these to be seen as mutually exclusive aims. No matter what the financial costs, the human costs are always going to be great. We need to a take top-down as well as a grassroots approach in the scientific community if we are to make this the new norm,” says Dr. Perrin. 

The Institute published a set of standards (Scott, et al.) for the optimized preclinical study design of the SOD1 mouse model of ALS in 2007 which was the basis for two international consensus papers and recommendations on publishing results using that model. The ALS TDI model has also been used by funding agencies, such Prize4Life, as a guideline for seeking grants.

“Drug discovery and development takes 12-15 years and over $1.2B. The risk and cost is especially great for neurodegenerative diseases. A critical inflection point is proof of mechanism in animals, which determines whether a potential drug advances into humans. Given the significant current problems in the predictive value of animal studies, improving their quality is essential to mitigating the risk of translating drug discovery into clinical trials,” says Howard Fillit, M.D., executive director and chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)

The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease) as soon as possible for patients today. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust target discovery program, while simultaneously operating the world’s largest efforts to preclinically validate potential therapeutics; including a pipeline of dozens of small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world’s first nonprofit biotech institute, ALS TDI has developed an industrial-scale platform, employs 30 professional scientists and evaluates dozens of potential therapeutics each year. Built by and for patients, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based research institute collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development, including Biogen Idec, UCB, Aestus Therapeutics, MDA and RGK Foundation. For more information, please visit us online at www.als.net.

 About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging. The ADDF has granted more than $54 million to fund almost 400 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. For more information about the ADDF, please visit www.alzdiscovery.org.

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