Pain Control Breakthrough Due to Animal Testing

by Wesley J. Smith

Animal rights organizations continue to peddle the lie that animal research leads to zero human benefit. But every major medical breakthrough in the last fifty years involved animal research, whether in obtaining basic biological knowledge or testing potential treatments for efficacy and safety before human trials.

Now, a potentially very important breakthrough on treating pain may have arrived thanks to research in mice. From the story:

A group of enzymes that become active in animals suffering ongoing pain has been discovered by Monash University scientists…

Prof Nigel Bunnett, from Monash’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, discovered the proteases becoming active in the cerebrospinal fluid of mice when they were experiencing chronic pain. By illuminating the switched-on proteases with fluorescent tags, he has also been able to identify the nerve endings responsible for sending their messages to the brain, known as proteases-activated receptors..

That is an example of basic research, the knowledge of which can lead to treatments.

Time now for human trials!

Doctors at The Alfred will soon begin taking spinal fluid samples from up to 90 surgery patients suffering pre-existing pain to determine if the proteins, called proteases, are also responsible for pain in humans. Monash scientists will also use the samples to refine drugs to block the pain process, which they have already used effectively in their mouse trials. 

So, animal rights believers: Should this research have not been conducted? Should the potential for the tremendous alleviation of long-term human suffering still remain unknown? Because without the sacrifice and pain of these mice, this important biological information would remain unknown. 

This is why I call animal research a “grim good:” Because of animal research, the amount of human suffering that has been alleviated cannot be measured.