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Dog Experiments at Wayne State: Decades of Pain and Futility

Since 1991, Wayne State University has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on experiments in which dogs are subjected to painful procedures and killed.

Heart disease is Michigan’s biggest killer and has been for years. As a public institution, Wayne State has a responsibility to the people of Michigan, but the scientific futility of the university’s heart failure and hypertension experiments and the cruelty involved erode the public’s trust. The Physicians Committee is calling on legislators in Lansing to take action and ensure that public resources are spent responsibly.

Rep. Sara Cambensy Announces Bill to Outlaw Dog Experiments in Michigan

Dog Experiments Don’t Improve Human Health

The ongoing dog studies at Wayne State will never advance human medicine or provide cardiologists with new ways of treating heart disease. More reliable information is obtained from studies involving humans. Spending limited research funds on the Wayne State dog experiments distracts from the real, human-centered approaches to studying heart disease. Epidemiological studies continue to give researchers insight into the causes of heart failure, while human clinical trials provide treatment and prevention options. But these effective research methods need more attention—and more funding.

Notable examples of human-relevant research include:

  • The Framingham Heart Study, which has included thousands of people across the country and resulted in several major medical findings since it began in 1948.
  • The Houston Methodist Studies, where researchers have worked with patients and employed stem cells to investigate interventions to treat heart failure and reduce patient risk.
  • The work of Michael Joyner, MD, at the Mayo Clinic where he has performed studies in humans similar to those conducted in dogs at Wayne State. He has also criticized the lead experimenter at Wayne State, writing that “using selective interpretation [he] dismisses the human data as either irrelevant or incomplete.”
  • The work of Igor Efimov, PhD, at The George Washington University, where he has established connections with local institutions that supply his lab with human hearts. The hearts are either diseased ones removed from patients undergoing heart transplants or have been donated for research but are considered unsuitable for transplantation.
  • The Texas Heart Institute, which is dedicated solely to addressing cardiovascular disease and stopped using dogs in studies altogether in 2015.
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