• Uncategorized

Rats/Mice Used To Develop Human Medicine

Rats/MiceUsed To Develop Human Medicine




Dr.Kenneth Stallings

InPartial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Course

AG –

Departmentof Agriculture

Alcornstate University

Oct6, 2016

Rats/MiceUsed to Develop Human Medicine

Rodentshave been experimented for a long time to develop a medicine that isfit for human use. Researchers have had various reasons as to whythey have used rats and mice for this extended period. There havebeen numerous breakthroughs whereby scientist have been able todiscover certain issues that relate both to these rodents and humans.

Theproblem that prompts this research is because many researchers havebeen using these rodents for so many years without producing majorsignificant findings in the field of human medicine. The trend hasbeen on the decline in the past several years. Despite the fact thatscientists have been saying that a majority of our genes are similarto those of these rodents, there haven`t been any major breakthroughsto some of the most epidemic diseases that affect human beings. Forexample, diseases such as cancer are curable in mice, but the samemedicine cannot apply to people at all.

Theaim of this research is to be able to identify what has been theimpact of animal research so far and is it necessary at this currenttime and age. I identify some of the achievements and failures thathave resulted from conducting rodents’ research to develop humanmedicine.


Animalresearch and experimentation have had a pivotal role in thebiomedical research community throughout history. The use of rodentsfor research had its beginning in the 18thcentury, whereby ancient scientist utilized them as models forcertain human diseases. With its development, there have been bothpositive and adverse events, which have benefited and also caused alot of issues that have affected researchers in one way or another.

Rats/miceused in the development of human medicine fits into my field of studyin away that requires you to understand these animals as well as how theyfunction, and that would need some physical science.

Recentstudies have shown that our genes may be similar to that of theserodents, but the DNA sequence and its functioning significantlyvaries. Animal experimentation has benefitted human beings in mattersconcerning health,sanitation, and the biological workings of organs. But that’s wherethe advantages end. Animal research is not meant to be a solution forevery disease that scientists do not understand.

Myresearch objectives were to identify why do scientist mainly userodents for research as opposed to other animal species and what hasbeen achieved so far since its inception.

Thisstudy relied heavily on the internet as its mode of data collection,whereby I used online medical web articles, web pages, and medicalarchives.



DEFINITIONOF KEY CONCEPTS……………………………………………………4






Mice/Mouse-Aslight rodent symptomatically bearing a pointed muzzle, small curvedears, a figure dimension, scabby tail, and an excellent breeding rate

Rat-a rodent that resembles a giant mouse, characteristically having apiercing nose, as well as elongated, sparingly haired tail

Genome-the haploid set of genetic material in a gamete or bacteria, or inevery cubicle of a multicellular bacterium

Severecombined immunodeficiency (SCID)- a primary immune deficiency.Thedefining characteristic is usually a severe defect in both the T- andB- lymphocyte systems. Normally, this often results in the onset ofone or more serious effects within the first few months of life.

Rodents-a gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels,hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives, distinguished by activelycontinually growing incisors and no canine teeth. They constitute thelargest order of mammals.

DNA-Deoxyribonucleicacid is the heredity material or molecule that carries informationregarding how an animal is going to look like, or have certaincharacteristics that are necessary for growth and proper functioningof an organism.

Genes-geneticmaterials that are transferred from parent’s organism to offspring,whereby they dictate the characteristics of that brood.

Knock-in-refers to adding information, which is usually a gene at a particularlocation on the chromosome. This results in new features in anorganism that were not there initially.

Knockout-it’s a technique whereby a gene of an organism is made to beinoperative.

Biomedical-refers to that, which relates to biology and also medicine.

Chromosomes-are structures that resemble threads and are made up of DNA.Chromosomes are located at the center of every cell of an organism.


Imainly conducted internet research on this topic. It involved goingthrough websites and online materials, which contained the necessaryinformation concerning rats and human medicine. My data assortmentincluded a qualitative review of online literature material based ona study conducted on rodents used to develop human medicine. Thisresearch methodology relied heavily on the following Onlinearticles, online literature review, medical research websites, onlinelibraries, online databases and finally online medical archives.

Myresearch methodology was guided by the following questions, which Ihad to obtain answers from the internet

Whydo we use rodents for Human Medical Research?

Iwanted to know why mice and rats are majorly utilized in humanmedicine research as opposed to other animal species. Accordingly,this was prompted by the fact that 95% of all laboratory animals arerats and mice (Foundation for Biomedical Research, 2010). The reasonwhy most scientist researchers rely on these rodents is due to

Theirgenes and biological characteristics nearly resemble that of humanbeings. Hence, enabling researchers to replicate certain humanconditions in rats. “Rats and mice are mammals that share manyprocesses with human beings,” said Jenny Halisky (NationalInstitute of Health, Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare)

Rodentsare comfortably housed due to their small nature, which makes itpossible to maintain them.

Theyadapt quickly and easily to new environments

Lastly,they reproduce rapidly in a short period therefore differentgenerations of offspring mice can be evaluated due to their shortlifespan. (www.livescience.com)

Whathas been achieved so far?

Rodentresearch for human medicinal purposes can be traced as far as fromthe 18thcentury, whereby scientists were curious as to how certain ailmentscould affect people. Researchers wanted a platform to play a modelfor human diseases. (Nuno Henrique Franco, 2013). Notably, thisinvolved introducing human diseases to these rodents and then workingon a cure that would efficiently eliminate the disease on the rats,which would finally be made to human medicine.

Positiveachievements include

Theseare some of the positive results I found researchers have been ableto discover by conducting rodent research.

Rodentresearch has made humans healthier since it has contributed to theelimination of certain infectious diseases, such as the plague. (IanMurnaghan, 2016)

Ithas added to better nutrition and also sanitation because researchershave been able to identify agents that lead to bad health.

Ithas resulted in the creation of antibiotics, which worked very wellin treating disease in humans. “These antibiotics seemed to work inboth the rodents and humans.” (www.chrcrm.org)

Thestudy has opened insights into the workings of the respiration systemand heart surgeries in people.


Manyresearchers and activists agree that biomedical study conducted inrodents for human medicine have failed tremendously due to the veryfact that mice and beings have an entirely different chemical,anatomy, and biological structures and functions. These differencescontribute to erroneous information when we try to cure humandiseases based on the data obtained by rodent research. Some of thefailures include

Forinstance, cancer is very curable in mice, but the medicine usedcannot work at all when used in humans. “Crucial genetic,molecular, immunologic, and cellular differences between individualsand other animals have prevented animal models from serving aseffective means by, which to seek a cancer cure.” (A Critical Lookat Animal Experimentation, Medical Research Modernisation Committee)

Norodent model can compare to the human system therefore, results arebound to be inaccurate no matter how perfect the medicine or curefound to work in mice can it effectively work in humans. (ElizabethLenders, 2010)

Recentstudies show that no two persons respond the same to similarmedicine, whereas almost all mice react in a particular manner to anindividual medication. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA)reports that “92% of drugs approved for testing in humans fail toreceive approval.” (2012)

Otherresearchers have found that stress, which is routinely experienced byrodents in laboratories alters negatively the results of purportedcures intended for human diseases. “This is because stress changesthe chemical composition of the rodents, which results in a differentway the drugs work in their bodies.” (www.neavs.org)

Rodentresearch is not entirely motivated by finding human cures. Seemingly,this is evident by the fact that it is a “multi-billion-dollarindustry in, which profit commercial interests have high stakes.”(www.neavs.org). For example, in 2010, the Jackson Laboratory sold2.9 million mice for a profit of 98.7 million dollars. Rodents arewidely considered for these researchers not because human geneticclosely resembles that of mice, but since they are relatively cheapto buy and handle, as opposed to other animal species.

Anotherfailure in rodent research is that in this 21stcentury “most human diseases are caused by human-made pollutants.”As reported by Cimons, M. (www.neavs.org). Therefore, it makes nosense whatsoever to conduct rodent research, whereas the solutionlies in combating pollution.

Recentstudies have also found that studies involving rodents are verypoorly designed such that the findings are questionable to outsiders.(www.animaltesting.co.uk). This infective experiments involvedknocking in and knocking out genes into the chromosomes of mice usingancient and obsolete instruments.


Basedon the research I conducted, I have come to a conclusion whereby thenegatives of using rodent as models for the development of humanmedicine far outweigh the positives of using them.

Thevery simple fact that people are nowhere similar to rats disqualifiesrodent research for medicinal purposes for humans. “The actual DNAsequences of both the rats and humans are completely different.”(www.rgd.mcw.edu) Notably, this is because rodents have verydifferent genes and chromosomal makeup, which mean that drugs testedon them will always reflect diverse results when applied to humanpatients. As seen from my findings, cancer is curable in mice, butwhen using the same procedure to people, it fails completely.

Rodentresearch is done not on the basis that it has major effects torevolutionize biomedical research, but it continues being done due totradition. This tradition started way back in the 18thcentury due to the curiosity of researchers to have a comparablemodel for humans to test for new drugs. (Nuno Henrique Franco, 2013) It may have resulted in people having better sanitation because miceare a leading vector for disease-carrying agents therefore studiesconducted on them have helped reduce the risk of contractinginfectious diseases. But that stops there. Rodents do not have to bethe solution for every human illness. This means researchers need notalways run to conduct experiments to mice and rats so as tounderstand how a disease, for example, a new sickness may affecthumans.

IfMedicine for people does not always work the same on two humanbeings, what makes it possible to try drugs tested on rats and notindividuals? There is no way this will ever work. Clearly, this isevident by the fact that “92% of all medicines that worked on miceare rejected since it cannot function properly or produce similarresults in human beings” as reported by the FDA. Consequently,this reveals to me that almost 100% percent of research conductedresult to resources and energy wasted while producing slightlynegligible results. This is like relying on luck to find solutions,which are very hard to achieve because rats are not humans.

Themajor reason that convinces me why these studies continue beingcarried out is because the rodent research business is amulti-billion industry whose primary focus is generating profit.(www.all-creatures.org, 2012) This is driven by the desire to findquick cures, which would be sold very expensively thereby returningprofits to the money invested. This represents to me a process thatis bound to fail since the margin of success is minimal and is faroutweighed by the risk of failure. Research conducted on animalsshould be based primarily on helping patients suffering where thereare no other alternatives to finding help.

Thereis also the issue of animal cruelty. These rodents as seen fromnumerous studies endure extreme stress due to the many tests carriedupon them. For example, in the testing of toxic substances, which areinjected directly into them. “These animals suffer due to thenegative effects the toxins have in their tissues. Most of them die,and those that do survive are killed since they cannot be cured.”(www.all-creatures.org). Also, the testing of toxic elements inanimal tissues does not yield the same results in human beings, sinceboth organisms possess different biology.


Researchbased on rodents have very few positive outcomes of biomedicalresearch and the treatment of diseases in humans. The genome in humanbeings is very complex and different to that of rodents. Drug test inrodents, therefore, seems to be relying on luck that somehow it canbe able to work in humans.

Itmay have produced some positive results, but as technology progressesthese testing procedures have become outdated. There are mainlyconducted due to a tradition that was started by ancient scientistsince they did not have live human models on which to work on.

Thereasons surrounding the continuation of the use of rodents asresearch tools is not based on the similarities of the genomes of thehumans and the rats, but rather on the affordability and maintenanceof those rodents. Nevertheless, this is not a good reason in itselfto a drug test and uses the results on humans. Rodents are onlysuitable for basic research but not on the modeling of humandiseases.

Thesestudies have cost many governments billions, which otherwise wouldhave been used to fund new non-animal testings’ that are nowproving to be much more efficient in predicting results to beexpected in patients.


Iwould recommend the following procedures as opposed to animalresearching, which since its inception has led to few benefits. Thisnon-animal researching offer the only hope in accurately predictingthe effects of new drugs that may be introduced to patients.

“Useof computer generated models and simulations.” (www.peta.org).These have proven very useful since they mimic the whole of themakeup of the bodies of humans. These models offer almost 100%representation of the functioning of processes of a human bodythereby increasing the margin of success since it can accurately showthe effect a drug that can have on the organs.

Theuse of “micro-dosing.” (www.neavs.org)this means giving patients very minute quantities of a drug to testits effects on a cellular level. Findings can show how the drugsaffect the cells, thereby providing a good predictable outcomewithout affecting the entire functioning of the human body.

Useof real human tissues in testing toxicity this provides moreaccurate results as opposed to rodent models. Scientists can be ableto understand how a particular toxic ailment affects human tissues asopposed to animal nerves, which have different underlying factorsthat alter the results. (www.niehs.nih.gov)

Guidingon practical medication tests in computerized drug databases.(www.sciencedirect.com). This helps in finding remedies that workedbest for patients, thereby improving on them to increase theireffectiveness and eliminating drugs that may have become obsolete.

Non-animalresearching and testing offer many benefits since they represent thereal thing and in the long run, thus improving their accuracy infinding cures to known human ailments.


DanielEngber. (2011). LabMiceArethey limiting or understanding of human disease?Retrieved November 11, 2011, from


NationalInstitute of Health. (2012). ScientistCompare Rat Genome with Human, Mice.Retrieved July 31, 2012, from http://www.genome.gov/11511308

Jacqueline,P., Alison, H., Erin, L. (2013). Animalsin research: rats. RetrievedSeptember 17, 2013, fromhttp://www.theconversation.com/animals-in-research-rats-16634

ErikaCheck Hayden. (2014). Misleadingmouse studies waste medical resources.Retrieved March 26, 2014, fromhttp://www.nature.com/news/misleading-mouse-studies-waste-medical-resources-1.14938

MDPI.(2013). AnimalExperiments in Biomedical Research.(PDF file). Retrieved, March 19, 2013, from http://www.mdpi.com