Lieu, Mace call on NIH to phase out animal experiments
A group of eight lawmakers led by Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.) and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Feb. 10, calling for the agency to phase out animal experiments.
In the bipartisan letter released Wednesday, the representatives wrote to NIH acting Director Lawrence Tabak to raise concerns about the agency “placing undue priority on funding experiments on animals that have failed to lead to treatments, vaccines, and cures for human diseases.”
The letter pointed out that the NIH’s own statistics showed that the majority of experiments conducted on animals failed to produce working treatments for humans. It noted that the agency had found that 95 percent of new drugs did not work in human trials and that the percentage for failure was higher still in research areas including sepsis and strokes, in which they said new drugs failed 100 percent of the time.
The lawmakers also said that the NIH had found that 90 percent of basic research, much of which they said involved animal research, did not lead to human therapies.
The lawmakers went on to note that members of the European Parliament have directed the European Commission to work with scientists to eliminate the use of unnecessary animal experiments, and outlined actions they said the NIH should take to address the issue.
One action the lawmakers called for was for the NIH to stop funding animal experiments in research areas where evidence shows the experiments do not translate to success in human trials. Another was for the agency to examine other areas in which animal-based research is used and identify those in which the use of animals can be eliminated.
The final action the lawmakers included was for the NIH to prioritize funding for research using “human-relevant research methods” that don’t involve experiments on animals.
“The lack of a firm commitment to modernizing research puts the U.S. at risk of losing its role as the world leader in biomedical research and deflects funding from research that could address and alleviate some of the world’s most deadly diseases,” read the letter, which was also signed by Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.).
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