Dr Ray Greek
It is easy to forget how far civilization has come in the past 300 years, before Newton, Demi gods ruled the universe, and if crops failed or sickness afflicted ones family, it was assumed to be caused by dis-favor with god. Darwins theory of evolution, electron microscopes, DNA, the study of genetics, chaos and complexity were unheard of, and I think I can say without fear of contradiction - that the philosophy of life known as science, has been responsible for these changes and the advances that so separate us from our ancestors - of just a few hundred years.
When society first started using 'science' and animals in a serious attempt to learn about human disease and health - it made sense in a way, grosly animals and humans have things in common, important things, both were composed of cells, both were affected by virus's and bacteria - responded to vaccines, had circulatory systems, lungs, livers and so forth, so the initial idea of extrapolating results from animals to humans, appeared valid and indeed society did learn things from animals, we can debate wether many of the great discoveries of old were dependent upon animals or whether the animal model even then did more harm then good, if one grants that initially animal models were usefull, then the next logical question becomes - what has changed? Is there a problem with animal models? first some facts...
Most drugs are affective only in 30 to 60 percent of patients, adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the US and the UK, and 15% of hospital admissions are caused by adverse medication reactions, legal drugs kill approximately 100,000 people per year in the US - more then all illegal drugs combined and cost the US tax payer over 136 Billion in health care expense. Clearly the probability of any given medication 'doing more good then harm' is not optimal and this at least in parts is due to the animal testing that occurs prior to clinical trials.
Pharmcoginomics and broader longer clinical trials, offer the next step in the evolution of drug development and that is where we should be focusing our resources. The fact that the 3Rs community continues to sing the praises of a failed modality - while some in the pharmaceutical industry admit its inadequacies is in my opinion - significant. Among 10 medications withdrawn from the US market between 1998 and 2001 - Eight were withdrawn because of side affects that occurred primarily in woman, a recent study in science revealed that one strain of mice could have a gene removed without obvious adverse affects, while a similar strain would die without the gene. If men cannot predict the effects of a drug for woman, and one strain of mice cannot predict what will happen to another if a gene is removed, perhaps we have reached the level of organization or complexity that defines one species from another and even defines one individual from another.
Evolution - the study of complexity, non linearity and molecular biology combine to predict that animal testing should not work, and most importantly - empirical data in our books supports this.
Most practicing physicians will tell you that the animal data in meaningless to them, because it has no predictive ability and hence they do not even read the animal experimentation literature, likewise - physicians have complained for decades that longer and broader humans clinical trials should be mandated.
Today the level of our study has changed from the gross level to the genetic, and at this level, evolutionary biology predicts that the amount of data we can extrapolate from animals has diminished since the 1800s. Even though humans may might share 100% of their structural genes with another organism - say mice, these two organisms can be as different as, well, as a man and a mouse. By studying mice, is obvious that we can only only a peice of the puzzle - a mouse piece - not a human piece, and the rest of the pieces are usually ignored to the detriment of humans suffering from illness, predicting human response based on an animal model is not an example of "applying a relatively simple set of well established scientific principles" living organisms are better examples of complexity theory than utoniam physics, using the example of a model aeroplane or a automobile as so many defenders of the animal model do - is a good example of this - studying a model of a 747 will allow the observer to demonstrate the basics of flight, just as studying a 1973 vaga will demonstrate the basic principles of an internal combustion engine - but if anyone seriously believes that the model aeroplane or the vaga can be or is used to repair a farrari or a 747, they are deluded, just as animal models can be and were used to demonstrate very basic facts concerning anatomy and physiology - so a vega and a model of a 747 can be used, but today when we want to fix a farrari or repair a 747 - we don't tear down a vaga engine, nor do we use a model aeroplane.
In light of our current knowledge of DNA , evolution, molecular biology, complex adaptive systems and non linearity, I conclude that the burden of proof is now on those who claim animal models are predictive, they should produce pro-spective data gathered by investigators with out the vested interest in the outcome, that proves animals test A,B and C and so forth, is reliable. It is not incumbent upon us to provide any more data supported the theory, that animsls are not fury looking humans. Darwin, Watson, Crick, Lofelet, Shanks, Kofman, Collins, Vetna and many others have provided more then enough data, using animals as C.A.M.S (Causal Analogical Models) in 2002, makes a complete mockery of the scientific method.
The scientific evidence that invalidates using animals in medical research, cited by MPs calling for public scientific debates and employed to question UK Government science advisors, is presented by Americans and Europeans For Medical Advancement.
President of Europeans For Medical Advancement (EFMA)
Interview in Audio
Dr Greek debated Andrew Skolnick.
University of Buffalo.
Dr Ray Greek and Michael Festing.
The World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences.
Dr Ray Greek debated Dr Eric Sandgren.
University of Wisconsin
The use of animals as predictive models for humans.
Dr Ray Greek - President of Europeans For Medical Advancement (EFMA).
"Animals, Science, & Research" at the University of Toronto - 19th Sept 2011.
Dr Ray Greek.
Testifying at the historic ECI hearing - EU Parliament.