General Question

flo's avatar

Why do we hear about research done on mice/rats if it doesn't mean much?

Asked by flo (12901points) June 13th, 2018

They say they tested treatment x or y or z in mice and that it showed promise.
But then later on they say, “But mice are very different from people.”
and “This is many many years away from being on the market.”
So, why do they talk about it in the media until it is in the market?

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13 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Mice are the first step that shows us whether there’s any promise whatsoever, which would allow us to move towards human trials. We can’t conclude anything until we’ve tested on humans.

People like to get excited about good things that might happen in the future, so they pay attention to the early stages of drug development even though they might not ultimately pan out.

kritiper's avatar

Holy Hawkeye, @flo ! They gotta start SOMEWHERE!

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

People are learning how animal research is morally wrong. So scientists start with mice instead of chimpanzees. Eventually most research can be done with super-computers and not cause any more suffering for animals.

gondwanalon's avatar

Researchers get money to conduct certain studies on mice and other animals. After each study is complete they write a paper explaining all aspects of the study including the results and conclusions.

They publish the research papers in journals and also send copies to everyone who might be interested including news papers. The more interest in the research the easier it will be to get funding for the next research study.

kritiper's avatar

If one million mice died in the lab, no one would say anything but if one thousand Rhesus monkeys died, people would have a fit!

gondwanalon's avatar

@kritiper If one Rhesus monkey dies during medical research people will have a fit.

snowberry's avatar

Pssst! They don’t tell you if their lab animal dies! It’s not newsworthy, or more likely, not public information.

RocketGuy's avatar

Experimenting on people is much more accurate, but greatly frowned upon.

flo's avatar

@gondwanalon I believe you saw what I’m asking, based on your first post.

@RedDeerGuy1 Yes, it could be a while though.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@flo We have computerised anatomy classes with automated frog dissections for school age kids. More will be added to help students. Eventually they can move on to human cadavers NSFW: I believe that they are doing supercomputer animal less drug trials , but I don’t have a link. Link for discussion I haven’t read the article I have problems reading, from my medication, so I hope I answered your question properly?

flo's avatar

Good to know @RedDeerGuy1

Mariah's avatar

The whole point of experimentation is to learn what we don’t know about organisms. How could we make a simulation of a human or animal for use in a trial if the simulation would have to, by definition, include that which we don’t know? I’m very skeptical of the idea of ever replacing real experimentation with computer simulations.

kritiper's avatar

@gondwanalon Which also serves to prove my point! Mice lives are cheap by monkey standards.

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