Little quantitative data exist concerning barriers that impede translation from bench to bedside. We systematically reviewed synthetic or biosynthetic polymer nerve scaffolds for peripheral nerve repair to study a defined research area that is beyond the discovery phase and has potential for clinical application. Using electronic and manual search methods, we identified published English language articles, where scaffolds were tested in preclinical animal models. A systematic review of these 416 reports estimated all costs related to the use of animals, surgery, and evaluation methods. The research studied 17 different nerves in eight animal species, with use of 65 evaluation methods at an estimated cost of $61,264,910 for the preclinical studies. A total of 127 surveys were sent to authors, of whom 12 could not be accessed electronically and 45 (39%) responded. Major causes for failure to translate included lack of a commercial partner, insufficient financial resources, a research program not involved in translation, and lack of expertise in regulatory affairs. This review emphasizes the urgent need for standardization of preclinical models and the need to establish better collaboration between laboratory investigators, clinicians, and the companies involved in commercialization. It identifies important areas for education of future investigators in the process of translation from discovery to improved health such as those funded by the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards.
- peripheral nerve
- systematic review