Two days ago we wrote a letter to the Commissioner of the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) about stopping tests on animals and
mentioned how animal test results often are not applicable to human
conditions. According to FDA data, more than 90 percent of drugs that
proved successful in animal tests are not approved for wider use after
clinical trials in humans.
One research area where this is very obvious is that of spinal cord
injury experiments. In the April issue of the peer-reviewed journal
Reviews in the Neurosciences, Aysha Akhtar, M.D., a
neurologist, wrote: “Despite decades of animal experiments, there is
still no effective treatment to reverse spinal cord injuries in humans.
Dozens of agents have been found to improve spinal cord injury in
animals, but none of these turned out to be helpful in humans.”
Besides being archaic and inhumane, animal experiments delay the help
needed by the thousands of humans who suffer with spinal cord injuries.
It is encouraging that researchers at the University of Miami are
collaborating on the Human Spinal Cord Injury Model Project which uses
imaging technique, post mortem analysis, and nerve conduction methods to
understand human spinal cords. Computer modeling, in vitro research, and
the study of human cadavers are other directions to pursue.
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