Further thoughts on the elimination of laboratory animals


At The Dr Hadwen Trust launch of the first Professorial Chair of Replacement Science at Queen Mary College, London.

Meeting hosted by Kerry McCarthy MP at the Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons, Wednesday 16th Jan 2013.


In the discussion that followed the presentation, many important points were made. 

Prof Chris Foster, a leader in the field of Cancer treatments from Liverpool University, noted that research on non-human animal tissue was now HOLDING MEDICAL RESEARCH BACK.

This is very significant. 

Prof Chris Foster says :

“We are all patients – potentially all of us will at some time need treatment for an illness. If we are treated using one of the ‘blockbuster’ drugs currently on the market, promoted by the pharmaceutical companies, there is a high probability we will not get better. The reason is that, now we know the intricate details of the human genome, we know that we are all subtly different in our make-up, and in our responses to treatments. What we need is appropriate treatment for our body and for the particular invader – for instance, the particular kind of cancer that is threatening us. We need drugs specifically tailored to our requirements – smaller ‘niche’ drugs, which biologically match up. 

At this point is it utterly useless to go back and start experimenting on mice. This is outdated technology. The mouse tissue is not identical to ANY human tissue.  So the data accumulated will be useless for making this kind of fine tuning to various humans. The only way forward is to use human tissue to experiment on.

There is no bank of human tissue in this country … whereas there is in Germany, and so we are losing many of our top scientists in this field to Germany simply because the work cannot be done in the UK.  

Human tissue can be gleaned from various non-destructive ways, including small biopsies during operations … and this could be done as part of the NHS. IT is a massive waste of resources that this is not done at present.   Research on animals is obsolete thinking.”

The situation is made worse because many of the top-ranking medical journals require an element of animal testing in addition to in vitro and theory, because of traditional thinking that this make the drug more ‘proven’. In fact the situation is now reversed … animal testing is liable to yield less watertight results – so this ruling needs now to be changed

I find it hard to understand why there are people, evidently, working as editors and peer reviewers in the Journals who are clinging to the old rules. I suspect, as in many of these things, that if one looked closely enough with a magnifying glass, there would be other motives involved. 

So the fact that Queen Mary College are now pursuing this pure research on alternative research methods is a huge step forward.  

The Hadwen Trust need your support …. Money … donations, endowments, and also for people to make themselves available for research. This is not quite as frightening as it sounds! Small things can make a big difference, and Prof Curtis will be working on ways to enable the public to contribute – effectively helping to find cures for their relatives and friends and themselves.  

There is NO GOVERNMENT SUPPORT for this venture.  We all have to work to change that. This initiative is another vital step towards humanity which is being ignored by the present administration. 


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