Biomedical Research

Guven Polat/istock

Overview


We all dream of the day when cancer is cured and AIDS is eradicated, but is the continued use of mice, monkeys and other animals as experimental “models” of human disease actually holding us back from realizing the promise of 21st century science?

White rats in cages

115+ million

Animals are used each year in laboratories throughout the world

Skin patch

95% of drugs

Tested on animals fail in human patients

White rabbit

50% of animals

In UK labs are bred and killed without scientific benefit

The Issue


Cell Culture Inserts

Modern science has mapped the human genome, grown human mini-brains in the lab, and engineered multi-organ bio-chips that simulate human physiology, complete with normal functions like breathing and blood flow. In the face of these powerful new technologies and declining success in medial breakthroughs, scientists are increasingly looking away from failing animal models toward these promising human-relevant approaches, and we are helping to lead the way. Learn more at biomed21.org.

Biomedical research facts:

  • Artificially inducing symptoms of a human disease in healthy animals—e.g. forcing rats to swim or suffer electroshock until they give up trying to escape, as a “model” of human depression—does little to replicate the actual disease being studied.
  • From Alzheimer’s disease to Zika virus infection, a growing number of independent experts are questioning the value of animal studies, and urging funders of medical research to invest in more human-relevant approaches.
  • HSI is spearheading the Biomedical Research for the 21st Century (BioMed21) Collaboration to bring together leading scientists and institutions from across the globe to advance our shared vision of human-focused approach to medical research.
  • Together, we’re funding scientific reviews and organizing regional workshops, bringing key stakeholders together to discuss barriers to progress, opportunities for change and priorities for future research funding.
  • Lobbying by HSI has helped to shift hundreds of millions in public funds toward human-focused approaches to biomedical research—a win-win for people and animals alike!
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More You Can Do

1. Subscribe to our BioMed21 e-newsletter.

2. Follow us on Twitter.

3. Read further: A 21st century vision.

4. Check out our trifold pamphlet.

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