Stephen Sutton passed away today, and has inspired millions with his strength of character and phenomenal resolve for “making a difference”. The Teenage Cancer Trust for which Stephen raised £3 million has a non-animal testing policy for all its research projects. In honour of Stephen today, and the many people we all know who have cancer and who have passed from cancer, we are asking our visitors to take the time to read Ray Greek MD’s detailed chapter on the failure of laboratory animal experiments for this terrible disease in humans. Here’s the book chapter: Animal Models of Cancer in Light of Evolutionary Biology and Complexity Science from Cancer: Cares, Treatments and Preventions It’s well worth taking the time to read this in its entirety. We have placed its summary below this post.
52 MPs (and climbing) are signing Parliamentary EDM 263 to hold this failed animal model to public scientific account. Britain’s leading human rights defence barrister Michael Mansfield QC, pictured below, has endorsed, as “well set out and fair”, the debate conditions for EDM 263. The EDM’s call for properly moderated, public scientific debates about the misleading results of animal experiments for human patients will enable our government, and the public, to hear up-to-date scientific evidence which invalidates the continued use of such animal models for human disease, calling for their immediate abandonment on human medical and scientific grounds.
ASK YOUR MP to sign EDM 263!
Animal models of cancer have failed both for carcinogenesis and chemotherapy. There has been empirical evidence for the failure of animal models for decades but only recently has a Theory been developed to place the evidence in context. Based on the fact that animals and humans are evolved complex systems, one species should not be expected to be predictive for another for responses to disease and drugs. A modality, be it a research modality or treatment modality, that fails to perform as needed should be abandoned just as bloodletting and trephination have been abandoned by physicians. The concern society has expressed for using sentient animals in research in general is cause for further concern regarding the continuation of a failed modality.
Despite claims that research using animals to model human cancer has increased the life span of people with cancer, the use of animal models for developing new treatments for cancer has not been rewarding. In reality, it has been very misleading. In this chapter, I discussed the use of animal models for determining carcinogenesis and discovering chemotherapies. I also examine the empirical evidence pertaining to the predictive value of animal models for these purposes and placed this evidence into the context of scientific theory in the form of the Theory of Evolution and Complexity Theory. I then presented the position of society in general, as indicated by surveys as well as opinions from the scientific literature, regarding the use of animals in research and contrasted this stance with the actual benefits that result from animal models of cancer.
I conclude that from a scientific perspective, animal models of cancer have failed and will continue to fail to predict the response of humans to carcinogens and antineoplastic therapies regardless of genetic modifications to animals or the use of chimeras. When this failure is placed in the context of what society demands in return for allowing scientists to use sentient animals, such as mammals, in such research, the continued use of animal models of cancer is difficult to justify.