How useful is animal research?

Take home message

Biological systems are complex, have built-in redundancies, and have properties greater than the sum of the parts.  Even the differences among people are complex and not readily understood, which is resulting in diet an medicine becoming increasingly personalized.

Although animals are used for research, the differences between species is even more profound and not all the animal research ends up being applicable to humans. 

Some researchers hope that since the in vitro cultures can use human cells and the PBK computer models can be defined for humans, they may result in more accurate predictions (than animal research) for human health.

Some of the reasons that animals are used for research
Due to differences, some animal research does not apply to humans

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Ashtrays, Aysha. The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation. Cambridge Press, October 2015.

Greek, Ray and Andre Menche. Systematic Reviews of Animal Models: Methodology versus Epistemology. International Journal of Medical Sciences, January 2013

Knight, Andrew. Systematic reviews of animal experiments demonstrate poor contributions toward human healthcare. Recent Clinical Trials, May 2008.

Shanks, Niall and others. Are animal models predictive for humans? Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, January 2009.

University of Oxford. Research using animals - an overview.