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TGN1412 disaster must mark the end of animal tests
Posted 6 April 2006
The drug that caused catastrophic side effects when trialled recently on six human volunteers had already been tested on animals, but these tests failed to predict any of the major problems that were to follow. This is a principle finding of the just-published investigation into the TGN1412 human trial by the government's medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The inability of the animal tests to predict what would happen once the drug was given to people comes as no surprise to the increasing number of scientists who oppose animal tests on the grounds that the data acquired from them cannot be reliably applied to human medicine.
The MHRA reports that monkeys were given doses 500 times higher than that subsequently administered to the human volunteers, and yet the animals did not get sick, let alone develop the life-threatening inflammation of their tissues and internal organs experienced by the human 'guinea pigs'.
These revelations, say Animal Aid, should mark the speedy end of animal experiments for the development and testing of new drugs, whether traditional chemical compounds or biological products such as the monoclonal antibodies that featured in the TGN1412 trial.
Says Animal Aid scientific consultant Andre Menache:
'At a time when many scientists are openly calling for an independent inquiry into the efficacy of animal experiments, an overhaul of the current testing regime is well overdue.'
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