All Vivisection Results Should be Published


New Scientist.
Vivisection value.

by Kathy Archibald, London, UK

Simon Festing says that reducing publication bias in animal research would ensure a sound basis to move from animal studies into clinical trials (5 June, p 22). This would be true if the results of animal studies translate directly to humans. They do not, which is a far more important problem than publication bias. Full publication of every animal study of the immunomodulatory drug TGN1412, for example, would still have suggested that it was safe to proceed to clinical trials, since the devastating response to the drug is unique to humans.

Systematic reviews of the applicability of animal results to human medicine - such as those by Pablo Perel and others (BMJ, vol 334, p 197) and by Daniel Hackam and Donald Redelmeier (The Journal of the American Medical Association, vol 296, p 1731) show consistently that animal studies predict human response incorrectly a majority of the time. In the case of stroke, is anyone seriously suggesting that more than 150 treatments successful in animals have failed in humans because of publication bias? Of course, this bias should be addressed. There should unquestionably be a registration system for animal studies, as there is for human studies. As chief executive of Understanding Animal Research, surely Festing should be calling for this, rather than merely commenting that "it is not inconceivable that we might move towards a similar system".



From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann