HISTORY AND HUMAN ILLNESS - animal tests have failed patients

How helpful have animals been in understanding and treating human illnesses?

This question is not as meaningful as many people believe.  The main question is whether animal tests are likely to be helpful in the future.  The answer to this question is clearly no, for two reasons.

One is that we are now studying biology in more detail, at the cellular level.  While animals have some similarity on a gross level, the more detailed study is, the greater and more consequential the differences.

Secondly, the technology available that enables us to study human biology is so incisive that animal studies are so clearly a poor option.  Read more about that

However, it is notable that many false claims are made about the role animal testing has played in the history of treating certain illnesses.  These are most prevalent in relation to diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis and Parkinson's Disease.  Each case is an example of why animal testing is not a viable option.

Each case is an example of why animal testing is not a viable option.

Is there any reason to use animals in cancer research?
Click here to see a brief but conclusive summary of cancer research

It is a common misconception that progress in treating diabetes was dependant on animal models.  This is inconsistent with medical records, as understanding diabetes was dependent on human study only.  Insulin was developed through human study.
Click here to read about how diabetes was understood and treated with insulin

Cystic Fibrosis has been promoted as an area where animal research has been of particular value.  Despite the failure of animal models, the clinical nature of discoveries and treatment developments, this claim continues.
Click here to read about the history of Cystic Fibrosis

Parkinson's Disease cannot be modelled in animals.  It was understood through studying human patients at autopsy, and treatments were discovered due to test tube experiments, chemical analysis, ingenuity and accident - not through animal tests.
Click here to read about how Parkinson's Disease was treated inlcuding the development of DBS

Other brain illnesses have been researched using animal models, but to no avail.
Click here to read more.

A high-profile animal experimenter has claimed that he advanced treatments for blindness and squints, while he has been sewing together the eyelids of kittens.  The reality is well documented and very different.
Click here to read about treatments for amblyopia and failed experiments sewing kitten's eyes shut

Research into HIV and AIDS owes nothing to animal experiments.
Click here to read about how treatments were developed.