How Veritable are Animal Studies?

Daniel Bednarik

Animal Studies

For years, animal studies have been a large portion of scientific research focused on discovering and developing new types of treatments, drugs, products and a large variety of other things meant for human use.  Typically, animal studies precede human trials- if they are generally successful with animal models, the new product will then be moved towards clinical trials.

However, there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding whether or not these animal studies are accurate in predicting the effects that will occur in clinical studies. A recent article gives more information on why there are such inconsistencies between animal studies and human studies.  Animal studies from 7 extremely well-known and veritable scientific journals were considered, and it was discovered that only about a third of these studies translated for human trials, and about a tenth of them were thereafter approved for use in patients.  While these may seem like large numbers of success for the scientific field, it is important to note that these were very prestigious studies, and it likely that animal research on a lower-scale or lesser known is not as successful as these studies in their translation to human studies.

Some of the discrepancy between the success of animal studies and their failure to succeed in subsequent human studies is due to the possibility that statistical data collected in the animal study may not have been strong enough to indicate success with treatment in the human studies.  Another large possibility is that these animal models may not accurately mimic the expression of the same disease in a human, thus making the treatment for the same disease much different in an animal as compared to a human.

There are many issues and inconsistencies with animal studies then being used in human trial.  While some have been wildly successful and helpful to the furthering of human research, we still have a long way to go before there is a much smoother transition between success in animal studies being consistently successful in clinical trials.


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