These consider some of the issues relating to the use of animals in biomedical research:
Animal cancer is not the same as human cancer and substances known to be carcinogenic in one species are not necessarily carcinogenic for other species. Animal models are unable to mimic the complex process of human carcinogenesis, physiology and progression, with the result that they rarely translate into benefits for humans with cancer.
The average rate of translation from animal models to successful clinical cancer trials is less than 8%. Experts in the field are increasingly recommending a reduction in reliance on animal models and the use of new (non-animal) approaches in order to transform cancer drug discovery (Jackson and Thomas 2017), including microdosing in (Phase 0) human trials, in vitro human cell-based assays, in silico (computer) models, increased emphasis on epidemiology (Mak et al 2014), and the use of human tissue models (Jackson and Thomas 2017).
Dr Azra Raza, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University in New York, and Science Adviser to Safer Medicines Trust gives a powerful and moving 13-minute TEDx Talk on the need for human-focused cancer research.