(ANIMAL SCIENCE) Time and time again, animal testing has led to flawed results. And now, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal, has found that in the case of three diseases, sepsis, burns and trauma, animal testing has been not only useless, but also costly. Because animal DNA differs from human DNA, the results are often worthless. But unfortunately, the FDA still requires animal testing—meaning that even when there are more effective alternatives available like stem cell research, manufacturers will not use them because it won’t pass the FDA standards. Read on to find out why it’s important to change these outdated methods. — Global Animal
Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk
Mice studies prove to be useless in humans. Photo credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Standard Times, Bonnie Erbe

SAN ANGELO, Texas — New research on animal testing turns on its head the logic that has made mice the most popular species for studying drugs developed to treat human diseases.

Mouse studies have been totally misleading when it comes to understanding at least three major human killers — sepsis, burns and trauma — a paper published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals.

“As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads,” New York Times reporter Gina Kolata wrote. She added that the paper also “helps explain why every one of nearly 150 drugs tested at huge expense in patients with sepsis has failed.

“The drug tests all were based on studies in mice. And mice, it turns out, can have something that looks like sepsis in humans, but is very different from the condition in humans.”

Cynics may say, “So what? What does it matter if we destroy a bunch of mice, seen as pests by many humans?”

I could go on for hours answering that question. But here’s the short answer: It’s not just mice that are being bred and uselessly tortured for the sole purpose of developing cancer or some other human plague.

Test animals spend their lives in cramped, miserable conditions, are subjected to painful treatments and then casually slaughtered.

If you’re not bothered by the idea of drug tests on mice, what about tests on monkeys? Some monkeys — chimpanzees, in particular — are our closest genetic relatives. They, too, live horrific lives as test animals.

Why is the medical industry wasting billions of scarce research dollars testing subjects that produce fallible results?

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has led the campaign against animal testing for many years. In an opinion piece on its website, the group’s president, Dr. Neal Barnard, wrote:

“Part of the reason for animal testing is that manufacturers are not sure what else to do. Decades-old FDA regulations require animal tests, even when they have no applicability for the drug in question. From the manufacturer’s standpoint, it doesn’t matter if a rat’s heart or liver reacts differently from those of humans. Animal testing is the only path to FDA approval.

“Meanwhile, non-animal alternatives are mired in a seemingly endless process of scrutiny by regulatory bodies. Non-animal tests may well be better than animal tests, but if regulators won’t accept them, manufacturers see no point in using them.”

Technology has taken us way past the point where animal tests are the only reasonable alternative. Human cells can be extracted from people with cancer or heart disease or any number of illnesses and can be tested in labs for drug reactions.

Stem cells, still somewhat limited in this atavist nation of ours, are extremely useful in testing drug reactions and results.

After animal testing but before approval, new drugs must be tested on people. Doctors running drug trials are frequently besieged by people with diseases that these drugs may cure or alleviate.

Patients want to get into those trials. My father died of multiple myeloma six years ago. He faced tough competition getting into two trials that prolonged his life by years.

If the FDA would approve the use of human cells in laboratories and then go straight to human trials, that would eliminate the costly and inaccurate path of testing on animals.

It really doesn’t matter whether one objects to animal testing based on morality or economics. Animal tests are a nasty legacy of the past; technology is the future. It’s time our federal government understood that and trashed wasteful and immoral animal tests.

More Standard Times: http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2013/feb/18/bonnie-erbe-study-says-animal-tests-mislead-on/

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What a poorly written article. Whilst alternatives do exist they do not have the capacity to mimic complex systems. In my opinion jumping the animal testing part as is suggested is a mistake. There is much to learn from the process, including its failures. As far as I am concerned better SAFE than Sorry and the FDA policy appropriately reflects this! For those of you that care to look at animal research I suggest http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk , http://www.recherche-animale.org/ , http://www.nabr.org or http://www.efpia.eu/topic-list/18.

  2. What a poorly written article. Whilst alternatives do exist they do not have the capacity to mimic complex systems. In my opinion jumping the animal testing part as is suggested is a mistake. There is much to learn from the process, including its failures. As far as I am concerned better SAFE than Sorry and the FDA policy appropriately reflects this! For those of you that care to look at animal research I suggest http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk , http://www.recherche-animale.org/ , http://www.nabr.org or http://www.efpia.eu/topic-list/18.

  3. What a confused article. It begins by suggesting that stem cell research could replace animal safety tests (the only tests required by the FDA). How do you use stem cells to test a new compound? Stem cell research is crucial as a new possible area of medical treatments, but it's also a field driven by animal tests. Already treatments for macular degeneration are coming through from this, and it was all developed using animals.

    The academic paper itself warns its reader from drawing conclusions against other areas of research. It is fantastic that scientists have reviewed themselves effectively to find that animal models are not effective in areas like sepsis.

    I recommend this article which better explains the findings of AAAS.
    http://speakingofresearch.com/2013/02/15/why-mice-may-succeed-in-research-when-a-single-mouse-falls-short/