Animal Aid’s Isobel Hutchinson is incorrect to suggest that animals aren’t much use in cancer research (Argus October 29).
Breast cancer drug Herceptin, for instance, is based on a mouse hormone, which is quite hard to acquire without the mouse.
Ms Hutchinson is wrong in two ways. Sometimes it is the similarities we're looking for in animal research, such as the high correlation between human and other animals’ reactions to drugs, but often it’s the differences we’re interested in, such as the ability of zebrafish to heal quickly and without scarring.
Repeating the misconception that animal results cannot be reliably translated to humans no doubt helps to drive the income of companies such as Animal Aid, but there is a risk that people will believe that it is true.
Animal research has given us everything from insulin for dogs and humans, to the badger TB vaccine, to various experimental Ebola treatments.
It is illegal to use an animal if there’s an alternative, or to test cosmetics, and the animals used are mainly mice.
Let’s not put Ms Hutchinson’s need to attract subscriptions above the needs of man, animals and the environment.
Understanding Animal Research
Hodgkin Huxley House