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Animal Aid and misconceptions over research

ANIMAL Aid's Isobel Hutchinson is incorrect to suggest that animals aren't much use in cancer research (Write Back, October 29).

Breast cancer drug Herceptin, for instance, is based on a mouse hormone, which is quite hard to acquire without the mouse.

Ms Hutchinson is, therefore, wrong in two distinct ways. Sometimes it is the similarities we're looking for in animal research, but often it's the differences we're interested in, such as the ability of zebra fish to heal quickly and without scarring.

Repeating the misconception that animal results cannot be reliably translated to humans no doubt helps to drive the income of companies such as Animal Aid.

Animal research has given us everything from insulin for dogs and humans, to various experimental Ebola treatments.

It is illegal to use an animal if there's an alternative, and the animals used are mainly mice.

Let's not put Ms Hutchinson's need to attract subscriptions above the needs of man, animals and the environment.

CHRIS MAGEE

Understanding Animal Research

Belfast Telegraph

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