A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that mice have been a misleading model for three major killers of humans: sepsis, burns and trauma, according to the New York Times.
The study took 10 years and involved 39 researchers around the country. The project initially examined the white blood cells of human patients who suffered from severe burns, trauma or sepsis, but scientific journals would not publish the findings without correlating data from mice. Ronald W. Davis, a lead author on the paper and a genomics expert at Stanford University, stated, "They were so used to doing mouse studies that they thought that was how you validate things . . . They are so ingrained in trying to cure mice that they forget we are trying to cure humans."
The paper goes beyond sepsis, burns and trauma, and questions the use of mice as models for any study involving the human immune system, including cancer and heart disease.
To animal rights activists, the fact that data from non-human animal models cannot always be successfully extrapolated to humans is no surprise. Many animal activists do make scientific arguments against vivisection. But regardless of the scientific validity of the experiments, vivisection violates the animals' rights to be free of human use and exploitation.
No one doubts the biological similarities between humans and non-human animals, but animal exploiters cannot have it both ways. If non-human animals are so similar to us, similar enough that the data are useful for even behavioral and cognitive experiments, animal rights activists cannot be accused of anthropomorphism when we say that the animals in those studies suffer and feel pain.
H/T to my friend Sandy for sending the link to the New York Times article.