The translation of findings observed in preclinical animal studies to humans in a clinical setting has proven difficult in many areas. Discrepancies between the results of preclinical animal studies and human clinical trials have in part been attributed to compromised internal and external validity of animal experiments, and the presence of publication bias. Systematic review and meta-analysis of preclinical studies have proven to be useful tools in quantitatively estimating the impact of study quality and informing the design of clinical trials.
If preclinical studies are used to inform future research decisions in the life sciences their design, conduct and reporting must be rigorous and their results disseminated in an unbiased and timely manner. Improving our approach to preclinical practice and evidence based clinical trial design may improve translation from bench to bedside.