Improving translatability of preclinical studies for neuromuscular disorders: lessons from the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT)

Willmann, R and Lee, J and Turner, C and Nagaraju, K and Aartsma-Rus, A and Wells, D J and Wagner, K R and Csimma, C and Straub, V and Grounds, M D and De Luca, A (2020) Improving translatability of preclinical studies for neuromuscular disorders: lessons from the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics (TACT). Disease Models and Mechanisms, 13 (2).

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Abstract

Clinical trials for rare neuromuscular diseases imply, among other investments, a high emotional burden for the whole disease community. Translation of data from preclinical studies to justify any clinical trial must be carefully pondered in order to minimize the risk of clinical trial withdrawal or failure. A rigorous distinction between proof-of-concept and preclinical efficacy studies using animal models is key to support the rationale of a clinical trial involving patients. This Review evaluates the experience accumulated by the TREAT-NMD Advisory Committee for Therapeutics, which provides detailed constructive feedback on clinical proposals for neuromuscular diseases submitted by researchers in both academia and industry, and emphasizes that a timely critical review of preclinical efficacy data from animal models, including biomarkers for specific diseases, combined with adherence to existing guidelines and standard protocols, can significantly help to de-risk clinical programs and prevent disappointments and costly engagement.

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