At Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, animals are used in research, but 100 percent of them are rodents (rats and mice), according to Kevin Punsky a spokesperson.
Rodents are important to many research areas, including neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases), cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, endocrinology, transplantation and vaccine development.
Animal research played a vital role in several recent outcomes at Mayo, Punsky said.
For example, researchers have found that a drug now being tested to treat a range of human cancers significantly inhibited colon cancer development in mice. Because the agent appears to have minimal side effects, it may represent an effective chemopreventive treatment in people at high risk for colon cancer.
The study, published earlier this year in Cancer Research, found that use of the agent, enzastaurin, significantly reduced development of cancerous colon tumors in treated animals. Furthermore, the tumors that did develop in the mice were of a lower grade, which meant they were less advanced and aggressive than the tumors seen in animals not given the drug, Punsky said.
In response to a question, Mayo issued the following statements:
“Mayo Clinic adheres to or exceeds all federal and state laws and regulations regarding animal use in research and makes every effort to ensure the safety and well being of animals. Mayo uses animals in research only when necessary and always with the goal of providing improved treatment or therapies for patients.”
Dr. W. J. Mayo, one of the clinic’s founders, stated in 1922, according to The Clinic Bulletin:
“Animals used for experimental purposes are as carefully protected from pain as are human beings, not only because the medical profession desires that this be true, but because conditions surrounding the human being must be duplicated as nearly as possible if helpful results are to be obtained.”
Florida Times Union, 12/20/09
Original Star-Tribune article: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/pets/68093422.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU