Failed clinical trials happen when optimistic predictions about human trials are made from animal studies of a new drug, claim experts.
Ethics experts Jonathan Kimmelman, associate professor at McGill's Biomedical Ethics Unit and Department of Social Studies of Medicine, Montreal; and Alex John London, associate professor of philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, examined a string of failed clinical trials and they come to the conclusion that researchers base their predictions on successful pre-clinical studies done on animals. But when, later on, human trials are involved, the new drug fails.
'We also need to look at how similar interventions have fared in the past,' Dr London said. 'If drugs that work on the same principle have failed development, there may be good grounds for tempering expectations.'
The researchers recommended that techniques used in clinical trials, such as randomisation and blind testing, should also be used in the design of pre-clinical trials too.