Posted 10 months ago | by Ben Armstrong
The Use of Mice in Clinical Trials Might not Create Accurate Results for Humans
Laboratories around the world have been using Guinea pigs, rats, mice, and others for the most part if modern medical sciences. Back in 1902, Abbie E. C. Lathrop recognized the potential mice had for medical research and became the first breeder to have her mice used in a laboratory for genetic research.
Since then, laboratories around the globe have been using mice in clinical trials for medicine, treatments, disease research, and a variety of different investigations, which have provided humanity with an understanding of biology beyond anything achieved before.
This was only possible thanks to rodents being a perfect test subject due to its fast reproduction rate, physiological similarities to humans in some respects, and ease of handling.
There is however an issue that science didn’t account for and might be becoming more troublesome as the number of rodents using in research increases: The current breeding protocols might be turning mice into invalid disease models.
Modern Breeding Practices Impact in Clinical Trials
When Mrs. Lathrop’s mice were introduced into laboratories for the first time, they were bred under strict conditions where proper nutrition was provided, were genetically similar to their wild relatives, and were carefully selected when deciding which ones would be bred.
This is not the case any longer as breeders focus on increasing the reproductive output as well as mice selection to diminish their aging process (senescence) as well as tumor suppression factors. The result of this focus is mice with a physiology that is different from that one of their relatives and ancestors.
The Reserve-Capacity Hypothesis was published by Bret S Weinstein and Deborah Ciszek back in May 2002 and has been discussed since then. It says that safety tests using these mice overestimate the risk that cancer entails as well as underestimating tissue damage with the accelerated senescence it causes.
Mice May Not be a Valid Model for Humans
Apoptosis is the process in which a cell decides to self-destroy due to reaching its natural life cycle, compromised DNA, or a response to chemical indicators natural to an organism. This process prevents cells from dividing when they are damaged, give animal bodies their shapes, and controls how far a tissue can extend.
One of the most important factors that start the apoptosis process for a cell is the shortening of Telomers. Telomers are a part of the DNA nucleotide that acts as an indicator of its integrity which means that the longer the Telomer is, the more the cell will divide, and the risk of mutations or defectives cells increases.
Cancer and Tumors are produced when a cell is unable to start the apoptosis process and continues its division after its natural life-cycle which is a big problem for any organism, especially lab mice. Lab mice have mutated and become more resilient to cell damage and prone to “rogue” cells, which makes them an invalid model for human biology
The Risks of Using Mice on Drug Testing
If the Reserve-Capacity Hypothesis is right, it would mean that clinic safety trials for drugs and treatments have been underestimating the damage they can deal to human cells and tissues, as the mice used for such trials have a better chance at recovering from such damage due to the longer Telomers.
The hypothesis also suggests that cancer-inducing factors in drugs could be underestimated in the trials as the higher presence of tumors and cancer in mice could lead researchers to relate them to the mice’s natural physiology resulting from their breeding.
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