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February 9, 2000

Animal Research and Human Disease

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(6):743-744. doi:10.1001/jama.283.6.741

To the Editor: The Medical News & Perspectives article1 on animal experimentation uncritically accepts researchers' claims that animal research is necessary for human health and is ethical. However, as Barnard and I have previously argued,2 animal studies can neither prove nor disprove any theory about humans. At best, these studies can suggest theories about human diseases. However, differences in anatomy, physiology, and disease pathology make most "discoveries" in animals nonapplicable to humans. In science, there are always many ways to address a given question. Accordingly, I favor human clinical investigation, which is a more fruitful means of deriving theories relevant to human medicine.

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