These consider some of the issues relating to the use of animals in biomedical research:
Certainly it is common to hear optimistic reports about medical breakthroughs on the news. The usual story is that a promising treatment for a certain condition has been found in mice and hope is expressed that this could eventually lead to a treatment for the human condition. However such news items are never accompanied by information on the very poor odds of this happening, or the difficulties involved in extrapolating such findings to humans (Woloshin et al 2009).
Scientists who issue this type of news release are able to hold out the promise of animal research without actually having to deliver anything at the time. It is unlikely that anyone would follow up the study in twenty years’ time to see whether it did actually produce any benefits for humans. However one group of researchers set out to do something like this. They found that of 101 research papers that clearly stated a promising finding, some twenty year later only one had led to a treatment that was subsequently used extensively in humans (Contopoulos-Ioannidis et al 2003).