The problem with animal studies

I suggest you read this carefully so the next time you read about some fantastic breakthrough for medicine because of an animal study, you won’t be swept away by the hype.

“The value of animal experiments for predicting the effectiveness of treatment strategies in clinical trials has remained controversial, mainly because of a recurrent failure of interventions apparently promising in animal models to translate to the clinic,” say authors in a Research in Translation piece published in PLoS Medicine.

The PLoS Medicine magazine article by H. van der Worp (University Medicine Centre Utrecht) and colleagues discusses the controversies and possibilities of translating the results of animal experiments into human clinical trials.

Related research, published in PLoS Biology, shows how selective reporting of medical research carried out on animals may be creating a false impression of how effective drugs might be.

A team of researchers, led by the University of Edinburgh, say this is because medical journals are more likely to publish positive results that highlight medical advances than negative or neutral findings, which are deemed less interesting.

via Can animal models of disease reliably inform human studies?.

and here is a link to the PLOS study report:

The PLOS article covers many more problems with animal studies that just publication bias.

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