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TIme to admit animal research does not work

It is time the pharmaceutical industry admitted that animal research does not work.

National Anti Vivisection Campaign
Media release: Thursday March 23, 2006

An anti vivisection group says the severe reaction in six young men given a new drug in a clinical trial in Britain could have been avoided if the drug company had not relied on animal tests. The National Anti Vivisection Campaign says the differences between species means that using animals as models for human safety tests means disasters like the hospitalisation of six English men during a trial of a new drug are inevitable.

German biotech company TeGenero, whose drug trial has left six men fighting for their lives after it went badly wrong, had tested the drug in animal experiments. According to the firm's chief scientific officer, Thomas Hanke, the drug, known as TGN 1412, had shown no safety problems in animal tests.

The anti-inflammatory drug was intended to be a new treatment for arthritis, multiple sclerosis, leukaemia and cancer. It was developed using cancer cells and immune cells from mice. Prior to being tested on the men, it was extensively tested on rabbits and monkeys with no drug-related adverse effects. The animals were given 500 times the dose administered to the six human participants. However, despite the exhaustive animal testing, the drug caused multiple organ failure in humans.

National Anti Vivisection Campaign spokesperson Mark Eden says "The company has admitted that the drug was tested extensively on several different animals including rabbits and monkeys, with no side effects. Yet the first time it was given to humans, every person that took the drug ended up in intensive care within minutes. This is an undeniable example of animal testing failing with disastrous results".

"We are told that it is necessary to test new drugs on animals to avoid dangerous side effects in humans. Yet it has been proven time and time again that the animal tests do not predict problems in humans. Recently we saw arthritis drug Vioxx withdrawn from sale after it was discovered that it increased the risk of heart attacks in patients. Just this week Japanese drugmaker Eisai Co. has reported the deaths of 11 patients during a large clinical trial testing its Alzheimer's disease drug Aricept. The drug was approved in 1997 and is the most commonly prescribed drug used to treat Alzheimer's. All these drugs were safety tested on animals. We are constantly told that animal testing saves human lives but the evidence shows that it simply does not work.."

"Many medical experts and scientists have been saying for years that animal testing is unreliable. The introduction of many useful drugs has been delayed because they caused undesirable side effects in non humans, and many dangerous drugs have been approved because animal trials did not predict what would happen in humans" said Mr Eden.

The National Anti Vivisection Campaign was formed in 2002 and is New Zealand’s most active anti vivisection group.



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