Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

New analysis methods for research using animal models

The idea that 'animal models can faithfully predict the outcomes in human clinical trials of new medicines and treatments' is highly compelling. However, due to differences (biological and non-biological) between humans and animals this goal can likely not be achieved. Not only are animals genetically different from humans, everything else is different too. Even if living quarters are shared (e.g. house pet animals), the specific living conditions are still very different, please envision a cat or dog vs. their significant human family.

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Because of the differences between humans and animals, a different paradigm of expectations and analysis methodology needs to be developed. Animal models (natural and man-made) have been superbly informative for developing means to improving human health. The key to 'successful animal models' is the interpretation of the data - and the careful design of the animal studies to capture one of the essential molecular, environmental, behavioral problems that cause the human disease and to model the essential problem in the animals.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

At the moment, the specific design of animal models and the interpretation of the data is in the hands of individual scientists. Specific guidelines could be developed for every aspect of animal experimentation and this would help to optimize the output with respect to understanding the next steps: e.g. is this data useful in basic science, in translational science, which questions need to be answered using the analysis of human individuals ? The availability of specific methods will allow us to better move between bedside to bench and back.

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-12 net votes
7 up votes
19 down votes
Idea No. 474