National Anti-vivisection Society


National Antivisection Society

Can you give examples of species differences and the failure of animal testing?

Each species reacts differently to drugs and other products. What is beneficial in one species can be poisonous to another. The problem of the animal experimentation method is that researchers try to extrapolate results from one species to another in spite of known differences.

These important differences are at the cellular level where disease exists. The advantage of modern scientific techniques using advanced technology is that they work at the cellular level, and concentrate on human data, thus avoiding the problem of species differences.

It is also possible to move from cell, organ and tissue culture, and computer modelling to testing drugs in human volunteers safely by using systems such as Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) to analyse ultra-low doses of a drug in the volunteers this is known as micro-dosing. Tiny quantities of the drug to see the effects in people. The future of modern medicine is using advanced techniques animal experiments are out of date.

Failures of animal testing:

  • Eraldin, a heart drug, was given to patients for four years before the horrific side effects were identified - these included blindness, stomach troubles, joint pains and growths;
  • Opren, an anti-arthritis drug was withdrawn after more than 70 deaths and 3,500 others suffered serious side effects including damage to the skin, eyes, circulation, liver and kidneys;
  • Flosint, another anti-inflammatory drug reported 217 adverse effects including seven deaths;
  • Osmosin, an anti-inflammatory drug, was withdrawn after 650 people suffered side effects and 20 people died;
  • Chloramphenicol, an antibiotic, caused fatal blood disorders;
  • Thalidomide, a sedative used for morning sickness, caused about 10,000 birth defects worldwide (after the disaster the effects were only seen in one strain of laboratory rabbit);
  • Clioquinol, marketed as entero-vioform, caused 30,000 cases of blindness and/or paralysis and thousands of deaths in Japan, in addition it caused a new disease called SMON.

The scandal in March 2006 of the experimental drug TGN1412, which had such a devastating effect on human volunteers at Norwick Park Hospital, could have been avoided by the introduction of microdosing. The human volunteers could have been given ultra-low doses of the drug and the effects analysed.

The manufacturer, TeGenero Immuno Therapeutics, admitted that they had given the drug to monkeys at doses 500 times higher than those given to the human volunteers.

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