Primate experiments: Bateson and colleagues were wrong

A 2011 review by Bateson and colleagues was the first major systematic assessment of the ethics of UK primate experimentation. It concluded that 91% of studies were ethically justifiable. My detailed critique of that review was recently published in AATEX.

Mouse model misleading for human inflammatory diseases

'It has to be wrong. I don’t know why it is wrong, but it has to be wrong.' So said the reviewers of major journals such as Science and Nature, who were unable to find any scientific errors, but nevertheless chose to reject a paper demonstrating profoundly different genomic and biochemical responses between mice models and human patients suffering from important inflammatory diseases. The New York Times stated earlier this week that, "For decades, mice have been the species of choice in the study of human diseases. But now, researchers report evidence that the mouse model has been totally misleading for at least three major killers — sepsis, burns and trauma. As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads, they say. … Sepsis, a potentially deadly reaction that occurs as the body tries to fight an infection, afflicts 750,000 patients a year in the United States, kills one-fourth to one-half of them, and costs the nation $17 billion a year. It is the leading cause of death in intensive-care units. … [This study] helps explain why every one of nearly 150 drugs tested at a 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." This revolutionary new paper is here.

New articles

Several interesting new articles have just been added to the site, including one from the Int J Med Sci exploring the application of systematic reviews to the translation of results from animal models to human prediction; another from BMC Med Ethics on the historical basis for animal testing and contemporary scientific limitations of the practice; one from Psych Times on the use of animal models in the development of psychiatric drugs; and a highly recommended article from PLoS Med on the methodological flaws inherent within what is probably the majority of animal studies, and their translation to human predictions; and another in the Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging.