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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 374098, 8 pages
Review Article

Successfully Climbing the “STAIRs”: Surmounting Failed Translation of Experimental Ischemic Stroke Treatments

1Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Bryan, TX 77807, USA
2Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, 430 Sanders Brown Building 800 S. Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40536, USA
3Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky, 430 Sanders Brown Building 800 S. Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0230, USA

Received 21 August 2012; Revised 7 November 2012; Accepted 16 December 2012

Academic Editor: Petra Henrich-Noack

Copyright © 2012 Michael P. Kahle and Gregory J. Bix. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) provided initial (in 1999) and updated (in 2009) recommendations with the goal of improving preclinical stroke therapy assessment and to increase the translational potential of experimental stroke treatments. It is important for preclinical stroke researchers to frequently consider and revisit these concepts, especially since promising experimental stroke treatments continue to fail in human clinical trials. Therefore, this paper will focus on considerations for several key aspects of preclinical stroke studies including the selection and execution of the animal stroke model, drug/experimental treatment administration, and outcome measures to improve experimental validity and translation potential. Specific points of interest discussed include the incorporation of human comorbid conditions and drugs, the benefits of defining a proposed mechanism of action, replication of results using multiple methods, using clinically relevant routes of administration and treatment time windows, and performing and reporting good experimental methods to reduce bias such as, as suggested by the updated STAIR recommendations, sample size calculations, randomization, allocation concealment, blinding, and appropriate inclusion/exclusion criteria. It is our hope that reviewing and revisiting these considerations will benefit researchers in their investigations of stroke therapies and increase the likelihood of translational success in the battle against stroke.