Clinical Trials on Pets
Almost everyone has owned some type of pet at one point in life. These animals are like family, and it is devastating when one of them gets sick. Unfortunately not every disease is curable, just like not every human disease is curable. The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Science is doing clinical trials on pet cats and dogs with hope of developing better medicine for people and for animals.
The reasoning behind the idea of moving from lab rodents to pets for clinical trials is that these animals live side by side with humans, have more genetic diversity, and have more realistic immune systems than lab-raised mice and rats. These parallels that pets share with humans make them a better candidate for studying the effects of new drugs and drug therapies. There are a couple diseases that are nearly identical in humans and household pets that are treated by the same drug, which makes further research in this area justifiable. Using pets is beneficial because these animals are greatly cared for by their owners. Most researchers won’t think twice about killing mice or rats in a lab but when pets are being worked with, more care and thought is put into the treatment. This can also be a downfall. Since the researchers have to be so cautious this slows things down a bit. It also limits the full understanding of the treatment because they cannot kill the pets at the end of the trial to see the full effects of the trial like they do with lab rodents. Another downside of using pets it that the diseases they can test treatments for are limited since multiple pets might be hard to recruit. With rodents the diseases can be easily bred into many of them making sample size no issue at all.
Even with the ups and downs, these trials offer an alternative treatment for pets that could spare them a lot of pain and possibly even improve their conditions. These clinical trials are bringing medicine one step closer to being more efficient for humans and animals.
Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/can-clinical-trials-dogs-and-cats-help-peopleImages: http://stories.barkpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/dogvet3.jpg
Posted by: Hannah Jordan (2)