Human Exceptionalism

Potential Heart Attack Treatment Breakthrough Again Demonstrates Importance of Animal Research

It’s a shame I need to keep doing this, but so many people have been lied to about the importance of animal research by organizations such as PETA, it must be done.  A potentially profound breakthrough in the treatment of heart attacks may soon be on line–thanks in very large part to the use of animals in the research.  First, the problem.  From the story:

British-based scientists have produced an antibody that reduces by more than 60 per cent the physical scarring of the heart and brain after an attack. The “milestone achievement” could also be used to stop the body attacking organ transplants. Professor Wilhelm Schwaeble, who carried out the work at Leicester University, said that it could potentially be the “biggest breakthrough ever” in the treatment of two of the biggest killers in Britain. Heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood flow being blocked by a clot or a bleed, starving parts of the body further down stream of oxygen. But most of the permanent damage is caused later – when circulation is eventually restored – and a “default of nature” which means the body’s own defences attack the oxygen starved cells. This effect, which kicks in around nine to 12 hours after the attack or stroke, causes massive inflammation and more than 80 per cent of the permanent damage. It is this that often leads to death and massive reduction in the quality of life of stroke and heart attack survivors.

And here’s where the animal research comes in:

Now the researchers at the University of Leicester have come up with an injection which they claim effectively stops the body attacking the oxygen starved cells. This allows them to start to oxygenate normally and the permanent damage is reduced significantly. The research has been tested on mice and more advanced mammals and has also been shown to work on human blood in the laboratory. Human trials are expected to begin within two years.

So, was this breakthrough worth the lives of the many rodents and other animals killed during these experiments?  You better believe it!  And it shows how medical research is integrated between animal models–which provide needed living organisms–and non animal research, such as the blood work here, cell lines, and computer models.  And the same is true of the many modern medical breakthroughs to which animal rights activists often attend.

Animal research is a crucial human rights protection, per the Nuremberg Code and laws such as the Helsinki Accords.  It is also good science.

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