The Editor in Chief at the British Medical Journal recently highlighted the failure of laboratory animal models in her Editors Choice, June 2014: How predictive and productive is animal research? This article concluded by quoting from the paper it cited:
“If research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced.” Read the article.
Senior scientists involved in medical research are additionally speaking out about a key financial aspect and the pressure placed on them to blur the distinction between ‘basic research’ – which is curiosity driven and makes no claim to apply to human patients – and ‘applied research’, which is funded on the premise that it will lead to effective new treatments for human patients. Senior cancer investigator and Director of Research of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Dr Jim Woodgett comments on this following an article in Nature:(scroll down to 5th comment):
‘When we publish our studies in mouse models, we are encouraged to extrapolate to human relevance. This is almost a requirement of some funding agencies and certainly a pressure from the press in reporting research progress. When will this enter the clinic? The problem is an obvious one. If the scientific (most notably, biomedical community) does not take ownership of the problem, then we will be held to account. If we break the “contract” with the funders (a.k.a. tax payers), we will lose not only credibility but also funding…Building only on solid foundations was a principle understood by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians yet we are building castles on the equivalent of swampland. No wonder clinical translation fails so often’.
Pharmaceutical companies acknowledge the failure of animal models in their drug development process and write about this openly and often in the scientific literature, visit this link to read extensive and referenced examples.
Trans-Species ModelingTheory now explains all of the above, by placing many decades of practical examples, illustrating the failure of animal models to predict the responses of human patients, within the context of current understanding of evolutionary biology and complexity. Read more from the leading medical Board in its field Americans and Europeans for Medical Advancement (AFMA/EFMA).