Mice Fail as Models of Human Inflammation

mice as disease models fail undermine animal research

Leaving the mice alone and testing drugs on human cells appears preferable.

According to new research mouse models of inflammation do not reflect human patients’ experience, meaning that drugs tested on mice and then approved safe and effective for humans were approved on an unsound basis. This could explain why over 150 such drugs determined as effective in mice failed to adequately treat human sepsis patients.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers analyzed data from human burn patients and those suffering blunt trauma and sepsis, as well as those with other inflammatory conditions, which could include diseases contributing to neck pain. The findings suggest that research on mice has been deceiving scientists for years, leading to approval of drugs that have little, or no merit in human patients and which may actually be unsafe.

The authors note that “New approaches need to be explored to improve the ways that human diseases are studied.” One way would be by using research models for drug development. Next time anti-inflammatory pain medications are prescribed for your neck pain, you may wish to check if a mouse had them first.


Seok J, Warren HS, Cuencac AG, et al. Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory disease. PNAS. Published online before print February 11,2013.

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