In this Good Science Digest we look at the need to transition away from the use of animals for medical research in order to improve it.
In his commentary “Fallacies of Mice Experiments”, published in Neuroinformatics last month, Dr. Erik De Schutter of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University argues that experimental neuroscience studies using mice are not held to the same rigorous standards as human studies.
Giving examples in basic and translational neuroscience, Dr. De Schutter explains that experiments with mice fail to improve our understanding of the human brain and treatments for neuropsychiatric conditions. And while better model systems might exist, he claims that the sheer inertia of the use of mice in biomedical research prevents alternative models from gaining prominence.
Dr. De Schutter calls for experimental neuroscientists to go beyond the group-think affecting their field and to more rigorously justify the necessity and relevance of their work. We contend a more honest assessment of the contribution of research in mice and other animals to human health improvement will lead to more funding of human-based models instead.