Studies are published regularly touting a promising new drug that could bring relief to thousands or millions of disease sufferers. However, published meta-analyses show that only around 5 percent of drugs that show potential in animal studies ever get licensed for human use. This low success rate is not only troubling scientifically, but also raises questions about the ethics of performing drug trials in humans that will not necessarily help the participants.
Alex London of Carnegie Mellon University
Image: Courtesy of Alex London
But there are ways to improve the predictive value of preclinical trials, argue biomedical ethicists linkurl:Jonathan Kimmelman; and linkurl:Alex John London; of McGill University and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively, in an linkurl:opinion piece; published today (March 8th) in PLoS Medicine. The Scientist talked to the duo about the disconnect between preclinical and clinical research, and what can be done to fix it.The Scientist: What...
Alex LondonTS
Jonathan Kimmelman of McGill University
Image: Courtesy of Jonathan Kimmelman
Jonathan KimmelmanTSALTSJK

Download Flash player to listen to a conversation on the low success rates of drug candidates

Bioethicists Alex London of Carnegie Mellon University and Jonathan Kimmelman
of McGill University discuss why so many of the pharmaceutical compounds
that make it into clinical trials don't become marketable products.

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?