Technological advancements have far surpassed developments from animal testing, reaching new standards in medical care.
Breakthroughs such as the angioplasty balloon, used by cardiologists to dilate occluded arteries, can now obviate the need for major surgery. The balloon's development can be attributed to advances in technology and did not rely on lab animals.
If we don't use animals, what will we use?
This statement falsely assumes that animal experiments have been responsible for medical advances in the past. However, the real benchmarks of medical progress have relied on the following non-animal methodologies, as will future developments.
- In vitro (test tube) research has been instrumental in many of the great discoveries - of antibiotics, for example, and the structure of DNA, as well as all the vaccines we have today, including polio and meningitis.
- Epidemiology (population research) revealed that folic acid deficiency causes birth defects, that smoking causes lung cancer and that lead damages children's brains.
- Post-mortem studies are responsible for much of our modern medical knowledge - including the repair of congenital heart defects in babies.
- Genetic research has elucidated how certain genes are responsible for some diseases. DNA chips allow doctors to prescribe the right drug for specific patients, thus reducing serious side effects of chemotherapy, for example.
- Clinical studies of patients have given
us most of our current treatments and cures
- including our treatments of lazy eye and
the knowledge that HIV transmission from mother
to baby can be prevented.
Human tissue is vital in the study of human disease and drug testing - animal tissues differ in crucial ways.
- Computer modelling is now very sophisticated, with virtual human organs and virtual metabolism programmes which predict drug effects in humans far more accurately than animals can.
- Advances in technology are largely responsible for the high standard of medical care we receive today, including MRI and PET scanners, ultrasound, laser surgery, cochlear implants, laparascopic surgery, artificial organs, pacemakers and even surgery to correct spina bifida in the womb.
- Human stem cells have already treated children with leukaemia and promise to deliver great benefits in the future.