The plethora of failed clinical trials with neuroprotective drugs for acute ischemic stroke have raised justifiable concerns about how best to proceed for the future development of such interventions. Preclinical testing of neuroprotective drugs is an important aspect of assessing their therapeutic potential, but guidelines concerning how to perform preclinical development of purported neuroprotective drugs for acute ischemic stroke are lacking. This conference of academicians and industry representatives was convened to suggest such guidelines for the preclinical evaluation of neuroprotective drugs and to recommend to potential clinical investigators the data they should review to reassure themselves that a particular neuroprotective drug has a reasonable chance to succeed in an appropriately designed clinical trial. Without rigorous, robust, and detailed preclinical evaluation, it is unlikely that novel neuroprotective drugs will prove to be effective when tested in large, time-consuming, and expensive clinical trials. Additionally, similar recommendations are provided for drugs with the potential to enhance recovery after acute ischemic stroke, a burgeoning new field with great potential but little currently available data. The suggestions contained in this document are meant to serve as overall guidelines that must be adapted to the individual characteristics related to particular drugs and their preclinical and clinical development needs.
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