Animal Experimentation - Frequently Asked Questions: How will we ever cure cancer without animals?
An Animal Rights Article from


AFMA Americans for Medical Advancement
March 2006

How will we ever cure cancer without animals?

The "War on Cancer" dates from the Nixon administration, and though information regarding cancer in animals is an expanding volume, researchers have not yet won the war. In fact, deaths from cancer are higher than ever. One major reason we have not yet stemmed mortality from cancer is this: Animal cancer is not the same as human cancer.

Cancer is not one disease. It is many. In humans alone, there are over 200 different forms of cancer afflicting different organs, tissues, and cells. Though comparable animal organs, tissues, and cells may become cancerous, the cancers are never identical to human carcinomas.

Susceptibility to cancer may be genetic. Exposures, diet, and lifestyles can also increase vulnerability. To turn animals into pseudohumans, researchers implant them with human genes, then expose them to known human carcinogens. The key word here is "known." If we already have significant human evidence that a substance, diet, or lifestyle is carcinogenic, why do we tool up to repeat that episode in animals?

In any event, different substances are not necessarily carcinogenic to all species. Though one would expect rats and mice to acquire cancers similarly, studies conducted on both species found that forty-six percent of chemicals found to be cancer-causing in rats were not cancer-causing in mice. Since species as closely related as mice and rats do not acquire cancer the same, it is not surprising that of twenty compounds known not to cause cancer in humans, nineteen did cause cancer in animals. The National Cancer Institute treated mice that were growing forty-eight different "human" cancers with a dozen different drugs that were already used successfully in humans. In thirty out of the forty-eight, the drugs did not work. Sixty-three percent of the time the mouse models were wrong.

The National Cancer Institute also undertook a twenty-five-year screening program, testing 40,000 plant species on animals for anti-tumor activity. Out of this very expensive research, many positive results surfaced in animal models, but not a single antitumor drug emerged for humans. As a consequence, the NCI now uses human cancer cells for cytotoxic screening.

As Dr. Richard Klausner, the director of the National Cancer Institute itself said:

The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse...We have cured mice of cancer for decades - and it simply didn't work in humans.

Go on to American Experimentation - Frequently Asked Questions: Isn't it true that animals are just like people on a cellular level? They are made up of cells and don't all cells act alike?

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