Philosophy  of AR > Animal Testing Index
Medical journal study demonstrates poor contributions of animal experiments toward human healthcare advancements
From: Andrew Knight
8 May 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Medical journal study demonstrates poor contributions of animal experiments toward human healthcare advancements

I have just published the invited article below, demonstrating that animal experiments do not - in general - contribute toward human healthcare advances, in a peer-reviewed open access medical journal. The full text is freely available from the websites below, and is accessible through normal biomedical bibliographic databases.

I hope you may find it informative and useful. Please let me know if you have any questions. Handouts or presentations of this work are also available.

I am grateful to the Australian Association for Humane Research, Melbourne, Australia , and The Medical Advances Without Animals Trust, Canberra, Australia , for their contributions toward the journal open access publication fee. These sponsors played no role in the design or conduct of this study; the collection, management, analysis or interpretation of the data; or the preparation, review or approval of this manuscript.

With best regards,
Andrew Knight BSc., BVMS, CertAW, MRCVS
Animal Consultants International 

Knight A. Systematic reviews of animal experiments demonstrate poor contributions toward human healthcare. Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials 2008; 3(2): 89-96.  and ben/rrct/2008/00000003/00000002/art00002 , accessed 6 May 2008.

Small erratum at human_relevance_systematic_reviews_knight_2007-2008.htm .

Abstract: Widespread reliance on animal models during preclinical research and toxicity testing assumes their reasonable predictivity for human outcomes. However, of 20 published systematic reviews examining human clinical utility, located during a comprehensive literature search, animal models demonstrated significant potential to contribute toward the development of clinical interventions in only two cases, one of which was contentious. Included were experiments expected by ethics committees to lead to medical advances, highly-cited experiments published in major journals, and chimpanzee experiments-the species most generally predictive of human outcomes. Seven additional reviews failed to demonstrate utility in reliably predicting human toxicological outcomes such as carcinogenicity and teratogenicity. Results in animal models were frequently equivocal, or inconsistent with human outcomes. Consequently, animal data may not generally be considered useful for these purposes. Regulatory acceptance of non-animal models is normally conditional on formal scientific validation. In contrast, animal models are simply assumed to be predictive of human outcomes. These results demonstrate the invalidity of such assumptions. The poor human clinical and toxicological utility of animal models, combined with their generally substantial animal welfare and economic costs, necessitate considerably greater rigor within animal studies, and justify a ban on the use of animal models lacking scientific data clearly establishing their human predictivity or utility. }

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