Relevance of Animal Models to Humans

João Pedro de Magalhães, microbiologist at the University of Liverpool, told me one of the big challenges he sees is determining the relevance of findings in animal models to humans.

In other words, can we somehow predict which discoveries in animal models have the higher likelihood of being relevant to humans?

What do you think?

Hi @DidierC and @arun_venkatesan - In your views what are the challenges in determining the relevance of findings in animal models to humans.?

Of course, the first one is which animals? Normal lab rats and mice are not perfect, but there are the best models and most used.

For rats and mice and studying longevity, the first challenge is to have enough 24 months old animals. They are more expensive, but studying aging on young animals breads of genetically transformed animals is more “dangerous” for the reliability of the results.

Even if you give one billion dollars to the best scientist in the world, he will be unable to let these rats or mice live without a new therapy. It means the relevance of findings of significant results of maximal lifespan would be quite important (very very difficult to falsify).

Remark: study the fertility of female rats or mice could be even more interesting because faster. Female rats cease to be fertile when they are about 12 months old.

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Thanks @DidierC for sharing your thoughts. Interesting points.

Hi @ymedan and @grahampawelec - Curious to know if you have any inputs to share on challenges in determining the relevance of findings in animal models to humans.?

I am not an expert in this field but I believe it is apparent that animals used for drug testing are not small humans… Their microenvironment, metabolism, DNA, microbiome, nutrition are all different. Hence, results obtained in animal testing do not translate well to humans, neither in safety, nor in efficacy.
Scientists have acknowkedged that and are work hard in developing alternative test models based on human organelles and/or simulations based of detailed Systems Biology models.
Until then, the best strategy is to maintain a healthy, resilient life style.

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