Identifying and understanding factors that affect the translation of therapies from the laboratory to patients: A study protocol

Manoj M. Lalu, Joshua Montroy, C. Glenn Begley, Tania Bubela, Victoria Hunniford, David Ripsman, Neil Wesch, Jonathan Kimmelman, Malcolm Macleod, David Moher, Alvin Tieu, Lindsey Sikora, Dean A. Fergusson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The process of translating preclinical findings into a clinical setting takes decades. Previous studies have suggested that only 5-10% of the most promising preclinical studies are successfully translated into viable clinical applications. The underlying determinants of this low success rate (e.g. poor experimental design, suboptimal animal models, poor reporting) have not been examined in an empirical manner. Our study aims to determine the contemporary success rate of preclinical-to-clinical translation, and subsequently determine if an association between preclinical study design and translational success/failure exists. Methods: Established systematic review methodology will be used with regards to the literature search, article screening and study selection process. Preclinical, basic science studies published in high impact basic science journals between 1995 and 2015 will be included. Included studies will focus on publicly available interventions with potential clinical promise. The primary outcome will be successful clinical translation of promising therapies - defined as the conduct of at least one Phase II trial (or greater) with a positive finding. A case-control study will then be performed to evaluate the association between elements of preclinical study design and reporting and the likelihood of successful translation. Discussion: This study will provide a comprehensive analysis of the therapeutic translation from the laboratory bench to the bedside. Importantly, any association between factors of study design and the success of translation will be identified. These findings may inform future research teams attempting preclinical-to-clinical translation. Results will be disseminated to identified knowledge users that fund/support preclinical research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number485
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bench-to-bedside research
  • Case-control study
  • Promising therapies
  • Systematic review
  • Translational failures


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