NEW MEDICAL TREND: HUMAN GUINEA PIGS
Globe Magazine, 9/6:
Using humans as the first guinea pigs in drug studies
is on the rise.
"It makes sense in many ways," Mary Beth Sweetland,
director of investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals, tells GLOBE.
"First of all, it cuts costs of drug development
drastically by eliminating what we call late failures," she says.
"You can take a drug far along its testing with animals only to find it
doesn't work in humans. Secondly, it cuts the time of testing
valuable drugs because you get results much sooner."
The trend of bypassing animal studies, called
experimental medicine, made believers out of researchers for Amgen, the
biotech company that gave potential arthritis drugs to human volunteers.
The results of the human trials were the direct
opposite of similar tests performed with the same drugs in animals. Sweetland
says animal testing can actually be harmful to humans. "The
diet drug Fen-Phen caused horrible injuries to human heart valves,
but no injuries were evident when given to animals," she notes.
Volunteers are happy to be part of the growing trend.
Ken Garabadian, who sufferes from intestinal cancer, has
been the guinea pig for several pharmaceutical studies and says he was
thrilled when the experimental drugs showed signs of working.
"The psychological boost was just enormous."
Email for author Lynn Allison (also a friend to the
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