Large animal and primate models of spinal cord injury for the testing of novel therapies

Brian K. Kwon, Femke Streijger, Caitlin E. Hill, Aileen J. Anderson, Mark Bacon, Michael S. Beattie, Armin Blesch, Elizabeth J. Bradbury, Arthur Brown, Jacqueline C. Bresnahan, Casey C. Case, Raymond W. Colburn, Samuel David, James W. Fawcett, Adam R. Ferguson, Itzhak Fischer, Candace L. Floyd, John C. Gensel, John D. Houle, Lyn B. JakemanNick D. Jeffery, Linda Ann Truett Jones, Naomi Kleitman, Jeffery Kocsis, Paul Lu, David S.K. Magnuson, Martin Marsala, Simon W. Moore, Andrea J. Mothe, Martin Oudega, Giles W. Plant, Alexander Sasha Rabchevsky, Jan M. Schwab, Jerry Silver, Oswald Steward, Xiao Ming Xu, James D. Guest, Wolfram Tetzlaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Large animal and primate models of spinal cord injury (SCI) are being increasingly utilized for the testing of novel therapies. While these represent intermediary animal species between rodents and humans and offer the opportunity to pose unique research questions prior to clinical trials, the role that such large animal and primate models should play in the translational pipeline is unclear. In this initiative we engaged members of the SCI research community in a questionnaire and round-table focus group discussion around the use of such models. Forty-one SCI researchers from academia, industry, and granting agencies were asked to complete a questionnaire about their opinion regarding the use of large animal and primate models in the context of testing novel therapeutics. The questions centered around how large animal and primate models of SCI would be best utilized in the spectrum of preclinical testing, and how much testing in rodent models was warranted before employing these models. Further questions were posed at a focus group meeting attended by the respondents. The group generally felt that large animal and primate models of SCI serve a potentially useful role in the translational pipeline for novel therapies, and that the rational use of these models would depend on the type of therapy and specific research question being addressed. While testing within these models should not be mandatory, the detection of beneficial effects using these models lends additional support for translating a therapy to humans. These models provides an opportunity to evaluate and refine surgical procedures prior to use in humans, and safety and bio-distribution in a spinal cord more similar in size and anatomy to that of humans. Our results reveal that while many feel that these models are valuable in the testing of novel therapies, important questions remain unanswered about how they should be used and how data derived from them should be interpreted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-168
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this initiative was provided by a grant from the Rick Hansen Foundation ( 17S71110 ) to the Blusson Integrated Cure Partnership between ICORD and the Rick Hansen Institute. The sponsor had no role in the study design, data collection, interpretaion, and manuscript writing. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Leilani Reichl and Andrew Pennington of the Vancouver Spine Research Program. BKK is the Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury. WT is the John and Penny Ryan BC Leadership Chair in Spinal Cord Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc..


  • Cellular therapies
  • Drug therapies
  • Large animal models
  • Primate models
  • Questionnaire
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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