A look back by EARA at some of the important discoveries in recent times
The last year has once again seen an impressive list of medical achievements globally, as scientists find better treatments for devastating diseases.
Among the breakthroughs reported are:
- Human trials are now closer for an Ebola vaccine with a team at UW–Madison School of Veterinary aiming to produce an experimental vaccine (March 2018) that has already been proven to work safely in monkeys.
- Researchers at University College London have announced (Dec 2017) that there is now hope for a way to stop Huntington’s disease, described as the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases in 50 years.
- 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded with help of fruit fly (drosophila) study. The discoveries of the group of scientists who worked on the project show how plants, animals and humans co-ordinate their biological rhythms with the Earth’s daily cycle.
EARA Executive Director, Kirk Leech, said: “There is no doubt that we would not see the remarkable advances in biomedical research that have occurred recently, without the use of animals.
“While alternative methods to animal research, such as computer models and cell cultures are important, testing using animals remains the safest and most effective way to produce drugs and treatments for us all.”
Animal research is integral to ongoing research in areas such as spinal cord repair, stem cell treatments (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s), gene therapy (muscular dystrophy, diabetes) and molecularly targeted cancer medicines.
Historically, animal research has also led to new diagnostic tests for early treatment (cancer, heart disease); and effective treatments for serious illnesses (diabetes, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease).
The same research often helps humans and animals (treatments for arthritis, neurological disorders, organ transplants, cancer therapies) and contributes to farm animal welfare and techniques to save endangered species.