A systematic review is a way of systematically bringing together the findings from research studies in a particular field and this paper is about the appropriate use of systematic reviews in the field of animal studies. Some researchers suggest that systematic reviews of animal studies conducted prior to human trials (i.e. prospective systematic reviews of animal studies) would allow scientists to scrutinise data on the safety and efficacy from animal studies, helping them decide whether or not human trials should proceed. However Pandora Pound from Safer Medicines Trust, together with Merel Ritskes-Hoitinga from Radboud University in the Netherlands, argue that while prospective systematic reviews can make the evidence obtained from animal studies more transparent, individual studies in animals are not necessarily able to reliably predict the safety and efficacy of an intervention when trialled in humans, and so systematic reviews of these individual studies would likewise fail to offer reliable predictions of safety and efficacy. As a result they would not be able to reliably safeguard humans participating in clinical trials. The authors also note that animal and human studies are often conducted concurrently, which not only makes prospective systematic reviews of animal studies impossible, but suggests that animal studies do not inform human studies in the expected way. They argue that it is time to review expectations of what animal studies can deliver and focus instead on investigating how clinical knowledge is actually produced. Read the full paper here
When I was asked to talk on this topic for the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal use in the life sciences – held online this year – I was happy to oblige. Having worked in academia for many years, I know how conservative universities can be. I recall how difficult it was to […]Building confidence in animal free innovations – does requesting animal data to justify publication of a non-animal method help?
The 11th World Congress (WC11) on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences recently took place online with the five themes of the congress being Safety, Disease, Ethics, Welfare and Regulation and Innovative Technologies. Both Dr Pandora Pound and Rebecca Ram from Safer Medicines Trust presented at WC11 and future blogs will discuss the […]