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Many Drug Tests on Animals are Badly Flawed, a Study Warns

A BMJ Study in six areas by team of senior scientists warns that many tests of drugs on animals// are flawed and hard to predict how well a prototype medicine will work on humans.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) research, which looked at the studies in six areas have found that animal studies agreed with human trials in just three areas out of six.

It is believed that the high-profile London drug trial that left six men ill early this year was carried out after animal studies showed the drug TGN1412 was effective, but resulted in six men suffering from serious organ failure after taking part in a trial of the TGN1412 drug made by TeGenero.

A team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reviewed evidence from a wide range of human and animal trials looking at six areas of treatment. This study was led by Professor Ian Roberts and suggested that the animal studies should be used only if required.

Corticosteroids, which were used to treat head injuries and respiratory illnesses in babies, Antifibrinolytics to treat bleeding, Thrombolysis and Tirilazad for stroke and Bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. But found that there was no consistent agreement between the animal and human studies.

These drugs did not show any benefits for treating diseases, for example Corticosteroids did not show any benefit for treating head injury in clinical trials but had done so in animal models. Different results were seen for tirilazad, for which data from animal studies suggested a benefit but the human trials showed no benefit, but only possible harm. But in some cases, for example in case of osteoporosis (brittle bones) and neonatal respiratory distress, where babies struggle to breathe, the clinical trials in animals came up with the same result as the human trials.

To conclude, the researchers have called in for more systematic reviews like this one, where the results of a number of an imal trials are pooled to get a better idea on the effects of drugs.


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