NPR

Drugs That Work In Mice Often Fail When Tried In People

Most potential new drugs don't work when tested in people. It's a major disappointment and it drives up the cost of developing new drugs. One big reason is the use animals in medical research.

Most potential new drugs fail when they're tested in people. These failures are not only a major disappointment – they sharply drive up the cost of developing new drugs.

A major reason for these failures is that most new drugs are first tested out in mice, rats or other animals. Often those animal studies show great promise.

But mice aren't simply furry little people, so these studies often lead science astray. Some scientists are now rethinking animal studies to make them more effective for human health.

When scientists first started using animals in research over a century ago, the animals were not regarded as human stand-ins. Scientists studying rats were initially trying to understand rats, says Todd Preuss, an anthropologist at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.

"As this process went

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