Friday, November 25, 2011

Those Lab Mice

Derek Lowe, a chemist who has done research in the pharmaceutical industry, recently had an interesting blogpost on the problems with research done on lab mice.

Because Lowe has done research with Big Pharma (including diabetes research), he provides a different point of view from the common "Big Pharma is evil and doesn't want to cure diseases" point of view found in many patient blogs. I think it's important to look at both sides of any issue, and Lowe often points out the difficulties of various chemical approaches to solving some drug problem. Most of them are over my head, but this one was interesting.

He links to another blog that has a series on mouse models, for those who are interested.

Many of the comments on Lowe's post are from other researchers, and it's interesting to see that unlike the popular press, the researchers are cautious about using mouse results. Even different strains of mice can show different results with the same drug.

One interesting comment was that when you put a human tumor into a mouse and some drug cures the tumor in that mouse it's possible that the drug simply kills human cells and hence would be dangerous in humans.

I think most of us understand that mouse studies often don't pan out to be human treatments. They are only suggestive. If only the popular press could show some restraint, patients wouldn't be told over and over again that some new cure was on the way, only to be disappointed when they never hear about it again.


  1. Thank you for your reminder in the form of cats and mice! I always enjoy your posts and agree that in the midst of all the uproar over what causes obesity and metabolic derangement we may be missing the forest for the trees. It may turn out to be a combination of a great many things, including our toxic environment which we not only ingest but breathe in.

  2. Judi, I agree with you that obesity is probably caused by a combination of things, including environmental damage, and one person's obesity may be different from another person's.

  3. Great post Gretchen, thank you for reminding us of these other perspectives.

  4. We have been feel healthy after read your post welldone job.