Why Alternative Cancer Treatment

Too many researchers stay entrenched in the old ways of doing things. They need as much pressure as ever to begin genuine phase-outs of animal experimentation and testing. It’s essential to remember, and to let organizations and government agencies know, that new methods can streamline cancer research, while a reliance on outdated methods hurts people as well as animals.
Neal D. Barnard, M.D., in A Look at Cancer Research

What The Vested Interest Groups Say

about animal models of human disease in cancer research

adapted from material formerly published by "Americans For Medical Advancement" AFMA

Substances that cause cancer in one species will not cause the same kind of cancer in another species. Cancers and the carcinogens that cause them are very species-specific.
Dr. Richard Klausner, National Cancer Institute

The history of cancer research has been one of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades — and it simply hasn't worked in humans.
Dr Richard Klausner, director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, The Press, 8 May 1998, page 5.

The case of the huge 25-year screening program, undertaken by the prestigious U.S. National Cancer Institute, illustrates the kinds of dilemma possible: in this program 40,000 plant species were tested for anti-tumor activity. Several of the plants proved effective and safe enough in the chosen animal model to justify clinical trials in humans.

In the end, none of these drugs was found useful for therapy because of too high toxicity or ineffectivity in humans. This means despite 25 years of intensive research and positive results in animal models, not a single antitumor drug emerged from this work. As a consequence, the NCI now uses human cancer cell lines for the screening of cytotoxics.
Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science, Volume II, Animal Models, Svendensen and Hau (Eds.) CRC Press 1994 p 4

It is in fact hard to find a single, common solid neoplasm [cancer] where management and expectation of cure has been markedly affected by animal research. Most human cancers differ from the artificially produced animal model....
Dr. Harrison in Clinical Oncology 1980;16:1-2

One might expect that these animals [onco-mice] would mimic human symptoms, not just the genetic mutations. In fact, that is usually the exception, not the rule…the genetic wiring for growth control [cancer growth] in mice and humans is subtly different.
Tyler Jacks of MIT in Science 1997;278:1041

Keith I Block MD director of the Institute for Integrative Cancer Care states, “…encouraging findings in mice often don’t translate into successful cancer treatments in humans…as Folkman himself told The New York Times, extrapolating from mice to people is a big jump, with plenty of room for failure.

Previous research, including a study done by Folkman himself offers two cases in point. Using mice, Folkman’s lab had shown convincingly that agent TNP-470 could block angiogenesis. But humans proved another story.

In a study of 33 men and women with metastatic kidney cancer, TNP-470 failed to produce significant results…In another trial, 25 adults with metastatic cancer intravenously received anti-VEGF, an anti-angiogenic drug tested by Genentech. Only one patient experienced any response at all, a minor tumor shrinkage that did not last.”
Natural Health Sep-Oct 1998 p 94-7, 164

Attempts to obtain malignant tumors in monkeys failed, since primates turned out to be highly resistant to certain blastogenic agents, carcinogenic for other animals.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., Experimental Tumors In Monkeys, CRC Press 1994

Spontaneous tumors in monkeys are very rare…Many researchers believe that monkeys have an inherent specific resistance to malignant tumors. The low incidence of spontaneous tumors in monkeys has been associated with difficulties in experimental induction of tumors in these animals.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., Experimental Tumors In Monkeys, CRC Press 1994 p 161

Thus unlike humans…in monkeys lung tumors are extremely rare.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., p 45

…spontaneous tumors of the respiratory organs and mediastinum in monkeys, unlike in man, are extremely rare.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., Experimental Tumors In Monkeys, CRC Press 1994 p 47

…spontaneous tumors of skin and soft tissue in nonhuman primates are comparatively rare.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., ... p 59

“For spontaneous skin tumors in monkeys, recurrences and metastases were not characteristic.” They are in humans.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., p 63

The above findings show that at present there have been just a few successful cases of the induction of soft tissue tumors in monkeys.
Beniashvili, Dzhemali Sh., p 73

"People do not understand how very far off this [clinical trials] is; these proteins are very difficult to make…and we are working very hard to make the human versions...The mouse versions don't work in humans."
Klausner as quoted in LA Times Wednesday, May 6, 1998

People are very complacent with their animal models. But this begs the question of whether there exists a good model of cancer.
New Scientist Sep 11, 1999 p 11 and The American Journal of Pathology 1999;155:739

A key issue today…is the prediction of chemical carcinogenesis from animal data to man…The real answer in the final analysis will be human experience.
Coulston and Shubick (Eds), Human Epidemiology and Animal Laboratory Correlations in Chemical Carcinogenesis, Ablex Pub 1980 p 1

With regards to studying carcinogens, Dr Phillip Shubik of the University of Nebraska stated in 1980, “Clearly, right now our animal models are totally and absolutely inadequate to answer all the obvious questions before us.”
Coulston and Shubick (Eds), p 13

In discussing the merit of experiments on animals for predicting cancer in humans the following exchange took place: “Dr Coulston: …one of the great fallacies in this calculation is that they are assuming that the mouse or rat or the hamster predicts for man, and we have no basis for this prediction…So it’s again a half-baked guess…

Dr Selikoff: Does the animal model have any relevance to human disease? If not we’re wasting a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of good scientists, and a lot of good space at NIH… Dr Upholt: …I completely agree with Dr. Clayton that extrapolation is unscientific.”
Coulston and Shubick (Eds), ... p 391-3

Dr Shubick summed up the meeting by saying, “the chief objective here is to keep us all employed and to make sure we do interesting experiments so we can keep coming back to nice places like this.”
Coulston and Shubick (Eds) p. 309

For decades the clinical observation of an association between cigarette smoking and bronchial carcinoma was subject to unfounded doubt, suspicion, and outright opposition, largely because the disease had no counterpart in mice. There seemed no end of statisticians craving for more documentation, all resulting in the fateful delay of needed legislative initiative.
Coulston and Shubick (Eds) p. 263

A very pro animal experimentation article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stated, “…[animal experiments] may not offer an uncomplicated straightforward means of discovering preventable causes for the majority of human cancers, and at the very least it certainly does not seem likely that they can offer a reliable means of estimating quantitative human hazards.”
J Nat Cancer Inst 1981;6:1215

...the lifetime feeding study in mice and rats appears to have less than a 50% probability of finding known human carcinogens... we would have been better off to toss a coin.
Fund Appl Toxicol 1983;3:63-67

In a provivisection article: “Numerical assessments of human risk, even if based on good animal data, seems well beyond the scope of the scientifically possible…The dose-response models now used in numerical extrapolation are quite far removed from biology…

In the present state of the art, making quantitative assessments of human risk from animal experiments, has little scientific merit. Valid extrapolations would be possible only on the basis of mathematical models grounded in biological reality and carefully tested against empirical data…”
Statistical Science 1988;3:1-2, 3-56

Primary rodent cells are efficiently converted into tumorigenic cells by the coexpression of cooperating oncogenes. However, similar experiments with human cells have consistently failed to yield tumorigenic transformations, indicating a fundamental difference in the biology of human and rodent cells.
Nature 1999;400401-2, 464-68

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