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Predicting Human Drug Toxicity and Safety via Animal Tests: Can Any One Species Predict Drug Toxicity in Any Other, and Do Monkeys Help?

Jarrod Bailey, Michelle Thew and Michael Balls

Animals are still widely used in drug development and safety tests, despite evidence for their lack of predictive value. In this regard, we recently showed, by producing Likelihood Ratios (LRs) for an extensive data set of over 3,000 drugs with both animal and human data, that the absence of toxicity in animals provides little or virtually no evidential weight that adverse drug reactions will also be absent in humans. While our analyses suggest that the presence of toxicity in one species may sometimes add evidential weight for risk of toxicity in another, the LRs are extremely inconsistent, varying substantially for different classes of drugs. Here, we present further data from analyses of other species pairs, including nonhuman primates (NHPs), which support our previous conclusions, and also show in particular that test results inferring an absence of toxicity in one species provide no evidential weight with regard to toxicity in any other species, even when data from NHPs and humans are compared. Our results for species including humans, NHPs, dogs, mice, rabbits, and rats, have major implications for the value of animal tests in predicting human toxicity, and demand that human-focused alternative methods are adopted in their place as a matter of urgency.
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An Analysis of the Use of Animal Models in Predicting Human Toxicology and Drug Safety

Jarrod Bailey, Michelle Thew and Michael Balls

Animal use continues to be central to preclinical drug development, in spite of a lack of its demonstrable validity. The current nadir of new drug approvals and the drying-up of pipelines may be a direct consequence of this. To estimate the evidential weight given by animal data to the probability that a new drug may be toxic to humans, we have calculated Likelihood Ratios (LRs) for an extensive data set of 2,366 drugs, for which both animal and human data are available, including tissue-level effects and MedDRA Level 1–4 biomedical observations. This was done for three preclinical species (rat, mouse and rabbit), to augment our previously-published analysis of canine data. In common with our dog analysis, the resulting LRs show: a) that the absence of toxicity in the animal provides little or virtually no evidential weight that adverse drug reactions (ADRs) will also be absent in humans; and b) that, while the presence of toxicity in these species can add considerable evidential weight for human risk, the LRs are extremely inconsistent, varying by over two orders of magnitude for different classes of compounds and their effects. Therefore, our results for these additional preclinical species have important implications for their use in predicting human toxicity, and suggest that alternative methods are urgently required.

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Anaesthesia and Post-operative Analgesia Following Experimental Surgery in Laboratory Rodents: Are We Making Progress?

Claire A. Richardson and Paul A. Flecknell

Current attitudes to the use of animals in biomedical research require that any pain or distress should be minimised. This can often be achieved by the use of appropriate anaesthetic and analgesic regimens. There, is however, little information on the peri-operative regimens used. A literature review was conducted to estimate how commonly analgesics are administered to laboratory rodents, the most widely used species of laboratory animals, and to assess the anaesthetic regimens employed. Studies describing potentially painful experimental procedures involving rodents were identified from peer-reviewed journals published from 1990 to 1992 and from 2000 to 2002. In papers published between 2000 and 2002, if analgesic administration was not specified, the institutional veterinary surgeons or authors of the papers were contacted by e-mail to obtain additional information on analgesic use. From 1992 to 2002, there was an
increase in the reported prevalence of analgesic administration to laboratory rodents from 2.7% to 19.8%. Although the use of analgesics has increased over the past ten years, the overall level of post-operative pain relief for laboratory rodents is still low. Anaesthetic methodology changed markedly between the two timeperiods sampled. Notably, there was an increase in the use of isoflurane and of injectable anaesthetic combinations such as ketamine/xylazine, whereas the use of ether and methoxyflurane decreased.
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2017-01-09T06:34:33+00:00 Tags: , , , , , |

The Relevance of Genetically Altered Mouse Models of Human Disease

Nirmala Bhogal and Robert Combes

The impetus to develop useful models of human disease and toxicity has resulted in a number of large-scale mouse mutagenesis programmes. This, in turn, has stimulated considerable concern regarding the scientific validity and welfare of genetically altered mice, and the large numbers of mice that are required by such programmes. In this paper, the scientific advantages and limitations of genetically altered mice as models of several human diseases are discussed. We conclude that, while the use of some such mouse models has contributed considerably to an understanding of human disease and toxicity, other genetically altered mouse models have limited scientific relevance, and fewer have positively contributed to the development of novel human medicines. Suggestions for improving this unsatisfactory situation are made.
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The Tubifex tubifex Assay for the Determination of Acute Toxicity

Milonv Tichý, Marián Rucki, Iveta Hanzlíková and Zdenevk Roth

An express (3-minute) test for acute toxicity determination by using the oligochaete annelid, Tubifex tubifex, is described. The EC50(Tubifex tubifex) [EC50(Tt)] for movement inhibition was calculated by using a concentration–response dependence. The reproducibility of the test was checked over several years and by several workers. Its applicability is limited to compounds which are soluble in water. The calculated EC50(Tt) indices correlate with LC50 values determined by using the fish, Pimephales promelas (96- hour assay), and with ICG50 values determined by using the ciliate, Tetrahymena pyriformis (48-hour assay) with high statistical significance (r = 0.822, n = 35, and r = 0.927, n = 80, respectively). The correlation between the EC50(Tt) indices and rat oral LD50 values (48-hour assay) was r = 0.519 (n = 67). The correlation within organic compounds was closer (r = 0.635, n = 60) than with the heterogeneous series of chemicals. A similar trend was noticed for the correlation with mouse oral LD50 values (r = 0.479, n = 56) with the heterogeneous series of chemicals, as compared that with the series without inorganic salts (r = 0.605, n = 42), and similarly with mouse intraperitoneal LD50 values, where r = 0.543 (n = 50) with the heterogeneous series of chemicals and r = 0.893 (n = 33) with the series of organic chemicals.
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Welfare Implications of Standardised Protocols for Phenotyping and Genotyping Genetically Altered Mice

Nirmala Bhogal and Michelle Scrivens

Phenotype-driven mouse mutagenesis programmes are widely advocated as a means of assigning functions to human genes. These programmes often give rise to a number of animal welfare concerns, not least the large numbers of animals that are used. Here, we consider how the phenotyping screens used in all such programmes can be improved, with specific reference to the standard phenotyping procedures described by the European Mouse Phenotyping Resource of Standardised Screens (EMPReSS). Although we commend the efforts of the Consortium in developing standardised screens for phenotyping, animal welfare should take precedence over technical ease and the cost implications of the research. A number of recommendations are made that could reduce the suffering of the mice used in such studies. These include the use of minimally invasive practices, reduced sample sizes, and combining the assays used in such studies.
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