Five key messages from RAT TRAP – shortlisted for a 2024 Lush Prize!
For our first blog of 2024, we summarise five key messages from Safer Medicines Trust’s landmark new book, Rat Trap by Dr. Pandora Pound which we are delighted has been shortlisted for a 2024 Lush Prize in ‘Public Awareness’.
- A lack of translation from ‘bench to bedside’ has existed for decades and there are many opportunities that can and must be embraced for change. Better treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer are long overdue. Knowledge obtained from animal studies cannot be reliably applied to humans.
- Science is at a turning point with the development of more powerful, human-relevant methods to investigate disease and drug discovery; for example in vitro assays , which have advanced from the origins of basic cell cultures through to ‘state of the art’ 3D organoids (‘mini organs’) and microphysiological systems (‘organs on chips’), as well as advanced in silico models, which have evolved from simpler analyses to advanced deep learning models, incorporating artificial intelligence (A.I.) and the use of ‘big data’.
- No single method provides a solution. Instead, new approaches must be combined in different and ‘bespoke’ ways to answer specific research questions and build evidence. These new approaches can be used in tandem with existing clinical approaches and clinical data, which at present are vastly underused.
- The regulations governing animal research and pharmaceutical drugs require overhaul to accommodate the transition that is needed towards human-relevant science. Achieving a future with better drug safety and effective treatments depends on it. Regulatory action must be driven by government mandate. There is no specific legal requirement to test on animals, but long-standing guidelines and attitudes maintain a collective expectation that animals must be used.
- It is time to break with tradition and embrace the human in disease research and drug discovery. Funding must be diverted away from animal research and towards human biology-based approaches as a matter of priority. The issue of animal research affects all of us. Our health and safety are at stake. This is not just about animals – the effect on patients has been overlooked for far too long.
See more reviews and information on Rat Trap – the spark for a revolution in science – here
as well as media coverage of the book and interviews with Dr. Pandora Pound