Preclinical studies often fail to report key details of experiments

January 18, 2017

Males and females often respond to drugs differently, so it would seem obvious that when researchers are testing drugs in animal models, they would mention their sex. But new research led by Dr. Marc Avey shows that this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, preclinical researchers often leave out many other key details when publishing their results. As outlined in PLOS ONE, Dr. Avey and his colleagues examined all known preclinical research papers on mesenchymal stem cell therapy for acute lung injury. They systematically looked at whether or not each of these 47 papers reported more than 100 different items known to affect experimental results, ranging from sex to randomization to food. Overall, they found that less than half of the items were reported properly. The researchers hope the study will lead to better reporting, which would help with the translation of promising preclinical therapies to patients. The Centre for Journalology is available to help preclinical and clinical researchers with reporting.

Authors: Marc T. Avey, David Moher, Katrina J. Sullivan, Dean Fergusson, Gilly Griffin, Jeremy M. Grimshaw, Brian Hutton, Manoj M. Lalu, Malcolm Macleod, John Marshall, Shirley H. J. Mei, Michael Rudnicki, Duncan J. Stewart, Alexis F. Turgeon, Lauralyn McIntyre, Canadian Critical Care Translational Biology Group.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas

The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe.