Cancer Tests on Mice

Given the media coverage, Hopes for breast cancer vaccine by the BBC for example, I thought it worth highlighting the BUAV’s recent comments regarding the latest cancer tests on mice.

Hundreds of billions of pounds have been devoted to cancer research, much of it using mice, yet little progress has been made in realizing effective treatments or cures.  Scientists who continue to use mice are ignoring compelling data that reveal the failure of this approach.

95% of anti-cancer drugs that work in animals fail in humans.

Genes known to be involved in human cancers work very differently in mice.  Even in our nearest relatives, chimpanzees, at least 20 genes implicated in human cancer are significantly different, explaining why serious human cancers are almost unheard of in chimps.

As stated by Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the US National Cancer Institute, “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse.  We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply didn’t work in humans.”

Many scientists are taking a human-focused approach to cancer research which is leading to tangible progress and saving lives (please see the BUAV’s comments for details).  Such superior methods, along with more effective prevention programmes that could prevent around 50% of cancers, are the way forward – scientists persisting with cruel and ineffective mouse “models” are hindering progress.

The Safer Medicines Campaign web site contains a frequently asked questions section which shows it is a myth that animals in biomedical research are critical to our understanding and advancement of human medical knowledge, e.g. how animal tests significantly sidetracked development of penicillin.  Caroline Lucas, the Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, is one of the patrons for Safer Medicines Campaign; the others patrons are Tony Benn and Mat Fraser.

The Green Party opposes animal testing and this is an extract from our animal rights policy:

“AR 407 In the UK, millions of animals are used each year in experiments which can cause great pain and suffering.  There are significant differences between the physiology of animals and that of humans and the reliance on animal testing and experimentation increases the risks of adverse reactions and hampers progress.  A large proportion of animals are used for non-medical testing and for duplicate research which could be avoided.  There are now many techniques available for testing of chemicals, drugs and medical procedures and for researching disease that do not use animals.  However, these alternatives are often not used and are not adequately funded or supported.

“AR408 The Green Party would ban all experimentation and research which harms animals, including harmful procedures used to obtain animal-derived materials.  ‘Harmful’ is defined in this context as ‘having the potential to cause pain, suffering, distress, lasting harm or death in animals, except where it is designed to benefit the individual animals concerned.

“AR409 Government research funds will be transferred from animal tests to non-animal technologies, including epidemiology, computer models, micro-dosing, imaging, DNA chips, microfluidics chips and the use of human tissue.  Much greater use will be made of epidemiological evidence and clinical data.  Greens would also fund more research into prevention of disease, looking at diet, environment, family history and lifestyle.”

David M. Davison

2 Responses to “Cancer Tests on Mice”

  1. More research needs to be carried out into prevention, for instance pollution of air and water, pesticides used on our food and, of course, our diet. Cancer rates are far higher in the ‘Western’ world where we suffer from much higher levels of pollution and we eat far too much meat and dairy, not to mention processed and microwaved meals.

    And then there are the rumoured ‘cures’ for cancer that are being ignored such as Amygdalin, naturally present in apricot kernels and almonds. The problem is they are ‘naturally’ present, which means they cannot be synthesised, patented and sold, so there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to investigate these and very strong financial incentives to deny the efficacy of natural treatments.


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