PTSD Pre-Clinical Workshop hosted by Cohen Veterans Bioscience
Cohen Veterans Bioscience held the “PTSD Pre-Clinical Workshop” in Cambridge, MA on February 18-19, 2016. This event was co-chaired by Dr. Kerry Ressler of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Cynthia Lemere of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dr. Magali Haas, the CEO of Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The 2-day workshop brought together 25 scientists who are directly involved in PTSD research or have key experience in this field, with the goal of addressing challenges in PTSD translational science in order to establish a preclinical roadmap to help advance new therapeutics.
The primary objectives of the workshop were to:
- Review the phenomenology of PTSD and existing animal models
- Identify factors that contribute to lack of reproducibility and poor translational validity
- Assess the criteria of validity necessary to produce translatable preclinical research
- Explore available new technologies and how they might be implemented in preclinical PTSD research
- Define a roadmap for advancing a PTSD preclinical program in support of translational R&D research
Based on the diverse topics discussed at the PTSD Preclinical Workshop – including the heterogeneity of PTSD, the current status of animal models, challenges in developing valid and standardized preclinical model systems and technological advances that may enable innovative PTSD research – the group identified clear priorities for the path forward. The overarching goal is to develop standardized animal models of PTSD that are translatable and reproducible in order to de-risk the drug development process. As a first step, it will be necessary to establish a collaborative forum consisting of experts in clinical research, preclinical models, and technology to drive progress along the PTSD Preclinical Roadmap.
Immediate next steps involve convening Working Groups to address specific objectives, including (1) harmonizing rodent behavior models and intermediate phenotypes in humans to facilitate the development of a translatable preclinical model, (2) developing best practice standards for reproducibility of PTSD studies, and (3) exploring innovative nano- and imaging technologies to expand the armamentarium for preclinical research.