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Marilyn MartinezMarilyn Martinez, Ph.D., is an AAPS Fellow and an associate editor of The AAPS Journal.

Research involving animal species is an important component of therapeutic product development, whether it is from the perspective of the identification of novel targets for treating human diseases, screening for toxicity and effectiveness of new compounds, or the development of novel dosage forms and drug delivery systems. However, what may not be well recognized are the shared medical challenges in human and animal species and how naturally occurring diseases in veterinary species may provide a platform for developing therapeutic alternatives for the human patient. Utilizing naturally occurring diseases impacting animal health can facilitate assessments of potential drug targets, drug delivery challenges, and clinical outcome assessments. Such studies can be applied both to benefit the affected animal patient and the human patient suffering from a similar disease state. Moreover, identification of shared diseases and pathologies provides an opportunity to examine similarities and differences in disease expression, which can facilitate the identification of human therapeutic targets and insights into potential sources of variability in disease expression across the human population. At the same time, this research provides opportunities to improve veterinary patient care.

It is from this perspective that The AAPS Journal theme issue Human and Veterinary Therapeutics: Interspecies Extrapolations and Shared Challenges has been established. The goal is that over time, this theme issue will be populated with articles describing many of these shared challenges. In so doing, the hope is that it will encourage greater interaction between human and animal health scientists. Through the sharing of information on delivery challenges, clinical assessments (e.g., pain in non-communicating patients), and disease targets, we can optimize the likelihood of identifying ways to treat our human and veterinary patients.

With the belief that a picture is worth a thousand words, please go to the Human and Veterinary Therapeutics resources page for examples of Web-based lectures, news briefs, and videos that exemplify some of these shared challenges. In a few cases, links to other informative Web sites are provided due to the importance of the information they contain. With the hope of collecting as large a library as possible of video and audio Web links, readers are encouraged to submit other informative links that can be added to this library.