If medical research on animals would pave the way to a cure for cancer, would it be OK? A pharmaceutical company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada is putting the question to the test; they’ve credited a key study using mice to a breakthrough treatment for brain and breast cancer.
biOasis Technologies, Inc. released a statement that their new medical regime looked promising to stop the growth of tumors in human patients with metastasized brain cancer and breast cancer. During the past year, the company has conducted research by transplanting highly aggressive human breast cancer cells under the skin of mice and treating them twice a week for six weeks with their new drug, BT2111, Herceptin (R) or a placebo. The tumors in the mice of the control group grew by a devastating 400 percent. The tumors in the mice that received the new treatment were completely stopped and the animals had very few side effects.
Advocates like those from the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine have argued in the past that “animals are poor models” for studying human diseases. In addition to the pain and suffering endured by the animals, much of the research has resulted in outcomes that do not cure human ailments. The theory says that human and animal physiology is different and just because a treatment shows promise in an animal study, the likelihood of it showing the same results when it is retested on humans is limited.
However, the scientists at biOasis sidestepped this argument by injecting the mice with human cells. Their report stated the model the company used is “accepted industry-wide as a gold standard for assessing the performance of new and emerging drugs to treat cancer.” They believe the regime will translate to a “potentially life-saving treatment” for human patients.
So has the world entered a new phase of medical research? Scientists around the world are experimenting in new ways on animals such as this one that posted on Care2, “Genetically Modified Camel Milk Could Help Produce Pharmaceuticals.”
The biOasis research will now be sent for further collaboration with Texas Tech University. It will be years before it will be available for the average cancer patient or further studies may prove that it will never become a new medical miracle. Whatever the outcome, the question will still stand before us as to whether the sacrifice the animals paid in the name of human health is acceptable.
Photo Credit: Pw95