This new study by Pandora Pound and Rebecca Ram from Safer Medicines, published in BMJ Open Science, analyses the opinions of scientists who conduct animal studies of stroke. At present there is only one drug available for patients with acute stroke, a ‘clot buster’ called Alteplase (and this drug was not directly dependent upon animal research for its development). Alteplase can only be given to a minority of stroke patients, half of whom will not benefit from it, so there is an urgent need for effective treatments in this area. Given the failure to develop treatments for acute stroke despite decades of animal research in this field, the study aimed to explore scientists’ views about the way forward.
We found that scientists conducting animal studies of stroke agreed that the field was in crisis, and many robustly criticised the science in this area. When it came to identifying the causes of this crisis, most scientists focused on the poor quality of animal studies. Similarly, when it came to solutions, most proposed improving the quality of animal studies in the hope that this would ultimately translate into benefits for stroke patients. A small number of researchers proposed using human in vitro methods alongside animal studies and one proposed using human focused methods instead of animal studies. Although there is evidence then, that a minority of scientists are beginning to consider human focused approaches, our study indicates a strong resistance to relinquishing the use of animal models in stroke research, despite decades of their failure to produce any benefits for stroke patients.
Read the paper in full 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 […]