University of Edinburgh
Scientific title
Increasing the experimental validity and utility of preclinical stroke research
Principal Investigator
Dr Emily Sena
Year awarded
Grant value
Research ID
SA L-SNC 18\1003
Research area
Start date
Tuesday 1 May 2018
End date
Monday 1 May 2023
60 months

Stroke Association Kirby Laing Foundation Senior Non-Clinical Lectureship Award

Description of research

Laboratory (pre-clinical) research into stroke includes modelling stroke in animals, or in an artificial environment, such as in a petri dish or test tube.

However, the robustness and standards required for conducting and reporting the findings of pre-clinical stroke research greatly lag behind those required for clinical trials of stroke in humans.

Given that pre-clinical stroke research informs the design of clinical trials in humans, it is of great importance to study the way in which it is performed and reported.  This has the potential to provide important insights into how to best improve the reliability and usefulness of this research and ensure that consequent human trials conducted are the most likely to be successful and help patients.

The current research project will investigate potential sources of bias that limit our ability to reproduce scientific findings from animal and other preclinical research.

By using cutting-edge computer tools, the project aims to provide an online resource, automatically updated in real-time, that summarises all pre-clinical studies of stroke, the drugs tested and quality of these experiments.

This resource should provide the stroke research community with the necessary evidence to continue recent improvements in standards of this work and allow assessments of progress.

These improvements include refining and replacing the use of animals in stroke research where other preclinical types of study are shown to be more appropriate to answering research questions.

A further aim of the research project is to inform the design of animal studies, to allow them to be performed with the same rigour and international collaboration with which clinical trials are commonly performed, enhancing their robustness and improving confidence in their findings.

The project will also investigate how relevant our pre-clinical models of stroke are to the experiences of patients who have a stroke and use this to help steer our approach toward this type of study.

The overall purpose of this research is to make pre-clinical stroke research more reliable and useful to inform how to design human clinical trials with a higher chance of success.