Steps to Translate Preconditioning from Basic Research to the Clinic

Frances R. Bahjat, Raffaella Gesuete, Mary P. Stenzel-Poore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Efforts to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases often focus on the mitigation of ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Many treatments or "preconditioners" are known to provide substantial protection against I/R injury when administered prior to the event. Brief periods of ischemia itself have been validated as a means to achieve neuroprotection in many experimental disease settings, in multiple organ systems, and in multiple species suggesting a common pathway leading to tolerance. In addition, pharmacological agents that act as potent preconditioners have been described. Experimental induction of neuroprotection using these various preconditioning paradigms has provided a unique window into the brain's endogenous protective mechanisms. Moreover, preconditioning agents themselves hold significant promise as clinical-stage therapies for prevention of I/R injury. The aim of this article is to explore several key steps involved in the preclinical validation of preconditioning agents prior to the conduct of clinical studies in humans. Drug development is difficult, expensive, and relies on multifactorial analysis of data from diverse disciplines. Importantly, there is no single path for the preclinical development of a novel therapeutic and no proven strategy to ensure success in clinical translation. Rather, the conduct of a diverse array of robust preclinical studies reduces the risk of clinical failure by varying degrees depending upon the relevance of preclinical models and drug pharmacology to humans. A strong sense of urgency and high tolerance of failure are often required to achieve success in the development of novel treatment paradigms for complex human conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
JournalTranslational Stroke Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Animal models of stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cerebral ischemia
  • Ischemia
  • Ischemic brain injury
  • MCAO
  • Mouse
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Occlusion
  • Preconditioning
  • Repercussion
  • Stroke
  • Therapeutic
  • Toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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