They see a rat, we seek a cure for diseases: The current status of animal experimentation in medical practice

Elijah O. Kehinde

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this review article was to examine current and prospective developments in the scientific use of laboratory animals, and to find out whether or not there are still valid scientific benefits of and justification for animal experimentation. The PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched using the following key words: animal models, basic research, pharmaceutical research, toxicity testing, experimental surgery, surgical simulation, ethics, animal welfare, benign, malignant diseases. Important relevant reviews, original articles and references from 1970 to 2012 were reviewed for data on the use of experimental animals in the study of diseases. The use of laboratory animals in scientific research continues to generate intense public debate. Their use can be justified today in the following areas of research: basic scientific research, use of animals as models for human diseases, pharmaceutical research and development, toxicity testing and teaching of new surgical techniques. This is because there are inherent limitations in the use of alternatives such as in vitro studies, human clinical trials or computer simulation. However, there are problems of transferability of results obtained from animal research to humans. Efforts are on-going to find suitable alternatives to animal experimentation like cell and tissue culture and computer simulation. For the foreseeable future, it would appear that to enable scientists to have a more precise understanding of human disease, including its diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic intervention, there will still be enough grounds to advocate animal experimentation. However, efforts must continue to minimize or eliminate the need for animal testing in scientific research as soon as possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Principles and Practice
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Animal models
  • Animal welfare
  • Basic research
  • Ethics
  • Experimental surgery
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Toxicity testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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