Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Time to Kill the Mouse (Doctor)?

There are always questions about whether to use research animals to study human diseases some in favour some not so in favour

Although I am a basic science fan, I'm not always in favour of mouse studies and so in the interests of variety I send you a link I got from one of the bloggers (great post may I add), which slates the poor lab mouse.

I am not sure I always agree with the comments in the mouse trap and I think most stroke drugs that work in animals but not in humans, probably do so not because the mice are fat coach potatoes as suggested by the research, but because you give the stroke drugs to mice before they get the stroke and not hours after the event as occurs with the failed stroke drugs in humans. But we all have our gripes.

We use different species of animals (e.g. worms and flies and fish) for research to exploit their advantages and reduce harm to the more sentient of animals and some of the "Big Science" that occurs may not be the most productive way forward. Never the less science is advancing and with advancing knowledge comes new treatments. If we treat a disease mechanism rather than a mouse then we have a focused way of testing if treating the same mechanism in humans will bring benefit. For example Tysabri was born specifically with the idea of stopping a disease mechanism that is pivotal for some aspects of MS.

Part II is about the dreaded B6 mouse. Did you know this mouse, like the Brits, prefers to drink alchohol to water. The B6 mouse is about the most EAE resistant mouse and is a bit of a biter not like the lovely albino beasties that are part of Team G. How did we pick our strain? it was seredipity but that's another story.

Part III is about the anti-mouse the mole rats (the mammal bee/ant) and cancer. You keep these at 30 degrees heat and they spend their day burrowing.

These articles have nothing about MS so you may not want to spend the time reading

Read the link if you want, don't if you don't. I don't have time to write something extolling the virtues of the humble lab mouse, so I won't take any comments and yes I do know that "mice don't get MS".