Netherlands, Nijmegen

How to Improve the Quality and Translatability of Preclinical Animal Studies

when 1 August 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 575

Animal experiments are justified ethically only if they are designed, conducted and analysed in such a way that they produce the most relevant and reliable information. If these conditions are not met, the laboratory animals are in fact wasted. A crucial method to meet these conditions are so-called systematic reviews. A systematic review is a structured and transparent method to analyse previously conducted studies thoroughly. In clinical research, systematic reviews are already common practice. In the field of animal experimentation, however, systematic reviews are still rather uncommon, even though recent publications have shown that they have several important advantages. Systematic reviews help to improve the methodological quality of animal experiments, they prevent unnecessary (duplication of) experiments and they lead to an evidence-based choice of animal models. Last but not least, they improve the translation of animal data to the clinic, thereby increasing efficacy and safety of treatments in patients.

In this course, you will get an extensive introduction to the concept of systematic reviews of animal studies and to the differences between these review methods and classical reviews. Both the advantages and the limitations of systematic reviews will be discussed.

Systematic reviews typically consist of the following steps:

- Formulating the review question
- Conducting a comprehensive search to identify all relevant studies
- Selecting relevant studies on the basis of explicit inclusion criteria
- Assessing the methodological quality/validity of the included studies
- Extracting data and perform a meta-analysis (an overall statistical analysis in which the results of individual studies can be combined)
- Interpreting the results

During the course, you will practice all these steps. Through this practical experience, you will get a good idea about the added value of systematic reviews and about the possibilities and efforts needed for conducting such a review in your own field of research.

The course will be given by SYRCLE, one of the leading centres in the world specialised in systematic reviews of animal studies. Since 2009, SYRCLE has developed a unique education program, as well as tools and guidelines to promote and facilitate the conduct of systematic reviews of animal studies.

Course leader

Dr. J. van Luijk
Central Animal Laboratory

Target group

Bachelor, Advanced Bachelor, Master, PhD, Post-doc, Professional, directly or indirectly involved in (preclinical) animal-based research

Course aim

After this course you are able to:

Explain the most important advantages of and challenges for systematic reviews of animal studies
- Build a comprehensive search strategy in PubMed
- Perform and interpret an assessment of the methodological quality of animal studies
- Perform and interpret a simple meta-analysis of animal studies

Fee info

EUR 575: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)