Animals and Medicine

Animals and Medicine: The Contribution of Animal Experiments to the Control of Disease

Jack H. Botting
edited by Regina M. Botting
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Open Book Publishers
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    Animals and Medicine
    Book Description:

    Animals and Medicine: The Contribution of Animal Experiments to the Control of Disease offers a detailed, scholarly historical review of the critical role animal experiments have played in advancing medical knowledge. Laboratory animals have been essential to this progress, and the knowledge gained has saved countless lives—both human and animal. Unfortunately, those opposed to using animals in research have often employed doctored evidence to suggest that the practice has impeded medical progress. This volume presents the articles Jack Botting wrote for the Research Defence Society News from 1991 to 1996, papers which provided scientists with the information needed to rebut such claims. Collected, they can now reach a wider readership interested in understanding the part of animal experiments in the history of medicine—from the discovery of key vaccines to the advancement of research on a range of diseases, among them hypertension, kidney failure and cancer. This book is essential reading for anyone curious about the role of animal experimentation in the history of science from the nineteenth century to the present.

    eISBN: 978-1-78374-119-9
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xii-xvi)
    Adrian R. Morrison

    Animals and Medicine: The Contribution of Animal Experiments to the Control of Diseasepresents a detailed, scholarly historical review of the critical role experiments using animals have played in advancing medical knowledge. Laboratory animals have been essential, and the knowledge gained has saved countless human lives – and not only human lives. Animals, themselves, have benefitted. Unfortunately, those opposed to using animals in research, some even physicians, have presented doctored evidence that using animals has impeded medical progress. Therefore, the articles Jack Botting wrote for theResearch Defence Society Newsfrom 1991 to 1996 have provided scientists – those willing to speak...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    Regina Botting

    The Research Defence Society (RDS) was founded in 1908 by Dr Stephen Paget, son of the eminent Victorian surgeon, Sir James Paget. Its role was to defend scientists conducting medical research using animals and to inform the public about the importance of animal experimentation. In its first year it attracted a membership of 2000 which included scientists in the pharmaceutical industry, in academia and in research institutes. Past presidents of the Society include such distinguished figures as Lord Perry of Walton and Sir William Paton.

    Dr Jack Botting joined the staff of the RDS as its Scientific Officer in 1991,...

  6. I. Treatment of Infectious Diseases
    • 1. Smallpox and After: An Early History of the Treatment and Prevention of Infections
      (pp. 3-16)

      The scientific work that led to the discovery of the causes of infections was possibly the major biomedical advance of the nineteenth century. From it was derived the aseptic technique of Lister, the use of antitoxins and immunisation, and the ultimately successful search for chemicals selectively toxic to bacterial cells.

      The conquest of most of the infectious diseases is, however, the field subjected to the most derisive attack by the antivivisectionists. The scourges that were responsible for the high childhood mortality up to the end of the nineteenth century were, it is claimed, defeated by improvements in sanitation, nutrition and...

    • 2. Rabies
      (pp. 17-28)

      On the 17th of June, 1981 an Englishwoman travelling in India was bitten on the leg by a dog. The wound was immediately cleansed by her husband using whisky as an antiseptic. She later attended a local clinic where the wound was again washed and packed with antiseptic powder. The woman returned to England in July and the wound was redressed in her local hospital. By the middle of August she became constantly tired and complained of aches and shooting pains in the back. She was anxious and depressed, and appeared to catch her breath when trying to drink. By...

    • 3. Lockjaw: Prevalent but Preventable
      (pp. 29-40)

      Although tetanus was described at the time of Hippocrates, for over 2000 years there was no advance in our understanding of the disease. At the end of the nineteenth century the prevalent, rather naive view was that it was caused by “inflammation travelling up an injured nerve to the central nervous system.” (2) The infective nature of tetanus was demonstrated by Carle and Rattone, who in 1884 took pus from a lesion of a patient with tetanus and injected it into rabbits, where it produced signs typical of the disease (3).

      Tetanus frequently followed wounds where the skin had been...

    • 4. Pertussis Vaccine, Unfairly Maligned – At What Cost?
      (pp. 41-50)

      Whooping cough prophylaxis, as pertussis vaccine, is routinely administered to infants together with diphtheria and tetanus as the DPT combined immunisation.

      After a short catarrhal phase, whooping cough begins with a dry nocturnal cough. This progresses to prolonged bouts of coughing which often end with a sharp intake of breath. The coughing fits may induce vomiting and, in severe cases, convulsions. Frank damage to the nervous system may occur, this is due to haemorrhage and lack of oxygen in the brain caused by the raised venous pressure that occurs during the paroxysms.

      The symptoms persist for weeks and may be...

    • 5. Vaccination: The Present and Future
      (pp. 51-56)

      The reduction of morbidity and mortality through development of new or improved vaccines continues. In October 1992, vaccination against infection byHaemophilus influenzaetype B (Hib), a major cause of meningitis, was included in the childhood immunisation programme in Britain. The effect was immediate, for Hib infections fell by 70% in the period January to March, 1993 (1).

      The introduction of the vaccine in Britain was triggered by the outstanding success of the experiment in Finland, where the introduction of the vaccine in 1986 reduced the incidence of Hib menigitis, which had been steadily rising since the 1960s, to zero...

    • 6. The Conquest of Polio and the Contribution of Animal Experiments
      (pp. 57-64)

      Any individual old enough to have even occasional recall of a childhood before World War II must be aware of the impact of antibacterial agents and vaccination on infective disease.

      With the advent of prontosil and hence the sulphonamides, followed by the antibiotics, death from common bacterial infections has become a comparative rarity. Similarly, the leg braces and iron lungs (Fig. 6.1) – a mark of the epidemics of poliomyelitis that were a regular feature of Europe and North America throughout the first half of the twentieth century – are now seen only in the countries which have not yet implemented the...

    • 7. Diphtheria: Understanding, Treatment and Prevention
      (pp. 65-76)

      In the sanitary 1990s it is hard to envisage the experiences of physicians working in the fever hospitals a century ago. Yet this is the only way to appreciate the progress made in the treatment and prevention of infective disease. An inability, or unwillingness, to undertake this exercise largely explains the misrepresentation by some of the value of early treatments of infections. These treatments stemmed from basic research into causative agents and mechanisms of toxicity.

      A prime example is diphtheria. The melancholic effect of having to watch a succession of children die either from suffocation or, as the disease progressed,...

  7. II. Development of Life-saving Procedures
    • 8. Development of Dialysis to Treat Loss of Kidney Function
      (pp. 79-86)

      The kidney regulates the water, acid/alkali and ion balance of the body, and removes toxic products of metabolism and ingested poisons. It is thus not surprising that when the kidney fails to function properly the consequences are dire. Urine production falls and toxins build up in the plasma ultimately producing coma. Cardiac arrhythmias may be induced through build-up of potassium ions in the plasma. Death results if the condition is severe and untreated.

      Acute renal failure is a sudden decline in renal function as a result of poisoning or reduced cardiac output (due to severe haemorrhage, shock, septicaemia, myocardial infarction...

    • 9. The Contribution of Animal Experiments to Kidney Transplantation
      (pp. 87-102)

      Haemodialysis is life-saving and curative in acute renal failure. By reversing the build-up of metabolic products normally excreted by a functioning kidney, dialysis enables the temporarily affected kidneys to heal and resume normal function. In chronic renal failure however, the burden of regular dialysis is necessary unless a healthy kidney from a donor can be grafted.

      Chronic renal failure (CRF) due to glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis or polycystic kidney disease is quite common, particularly in young adults. Depending on the composition of the population, between 50 and 100 persons per million will develop chronic renal failure each year (1).

      In the absence...

    • 10. Cardiopulmonary Bypass: Making Surgery on the Heart Possible
      (pp. 103-114)

      In the early seventeenth century William Harvey established that there is continuity between arteries and veins, and that the heart pumps blood through these vessels in a circular fashion. Harvey developed his hypothesis by observation of the relatively slowly beating hearts of cold blooded animals, such as snakes, rather than those of warm-blooded animals, which beat too fast to detect the pattern of their motion. In his use of further observational and quantitative techniques to substantiate his theory, Harvey manifested an exceptional intellect and imagination.

      Even Harvey, however, could not have imagined the progress in the treatment of cardiovascular problems...

    • 11. Artificial Heart Valves: From Caged Ball to Bioprosthesis
      (pp. 115-126)

      The heart is a dual pump. The right side receives blood from the body into the right atrium. From this chamber it passes to the right ventricle, a muscular pump capable of driving the de-oxygenated blood through the lungs via the pulmonary artery.

      Freshly-oxygenated blood returns to the left side of the pump via the pulmonary vein. From the left atrium blood passes into the left ventricle, an organ powerful enough to pump blood through all the organs of the body.

      The heart therefore pumps by a reciprocal mechanism. Blood enters a chamberviaone orifice, then is pumped out...

    • 12. Animals and Blood Transfusion
      (pp. 127-140)

      The assertion that animal experiments delayed the development of blood transfusion derives from the superficial and inaccurate accounts found in animal rights literature (see for example Ref. 1, page 157; Ref. 2 page 220). A brief review of primary sources reveals that animal experiments were crucial to the development of a) the concept of the benefit of blood transfusion, b) techniques for carrying out transfusion and c) the preservation of incoagulable blood and thus to the establishment of blood banks.

      The function of the heart and the details of the circulation of the blood through arteries and veins were, of...

  8. III. Drugs for Organic Diseases
    • 13. Animal Experiments and the Production of Insulin
      (pp. 143-154)

      Before 1922, the diagnosis of what was then called juvenile onset diabetes (type I or insulin-dependent diabetes, IDD), meant a lingering death within months. In that year, however, a team of workers in the physiological laboratories at the University of Toronto isolated and purified the hormone, insulin, from the pancreas. The purified insulin was shown to control not only the symptoms induced by removal of the pancreas in dogs, but also those of diabetes mellitus in patients.

      The production of insulin on a large scale from pig and cattle pancreas was achieved fairly rapidly, due no doubt to the striking...

    • 14. Animals and Humans: Remarkably Similar
      (pp. 155-160)

      The assertion that animal experimentation is a “failed technology” (1) is the linchpin of the pseudoscientific attack on animal-based biomedical research that has been waged over the last two decades. However, it is an undeniable fact that our knowledge of the function of the organs of the human body stems almost solely from research in other animals.

      For example, the investigation of the function of the heart by William Harvey (2) was one of the earliest adventures in experimental medicine. Harvey’s conclusion, that the movements of the heart caused the blood to circulate round the body, derived from observations in...

    • 15. Early Animal Experiments in Anaesthesia
      (pp. 161-166)

      In an attempt to make the history of scientific developments readable authors tend to highlight bizarre and amusing incidents, sometimes to the extent of inadvertently misleading the reader.

      Thus most essays that purport to describe the background to the introduction of general anaesthesia to surgery inevitably refer to the laughing gas parties or ether frolics that were apparently commonplace in the 1840s (see (1) for example). The inhalation of nitrous oxide or ether produced instantaneous elation or inebriation. Social occasions where this activity was indulged were presumably more benign equivalents of today’s glue sniffing sessions or Ecstasy parties. The conventional...

    • 16. The Control of Malignant Hypertension
      (pp. 167-176)

      The reduction of the death and morbidity rates due to infective disease in the 1930s and 40s threw other pathological problems into sharper relief. Thus, in the developed world, cardiovascular disease and cancer became the major causes of death.

      An important risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases is raised blood pressure, a symptom which the opponents of animal experiments imply could be avoided by changes in one’s lifestyle – stopping smoking, taking exercise and reducing fat intake, alcohol and stress (see for example Ref. 1, p. 44). Even if one disregards the mutable nature of the evidence connecting diet with cardiovascular...

    • 17. Penicillin And Laboratory Animals: The Animal Rights Myth
      (pp. 177-182)

      The dramatic impact of penicillin on the treatment of patients with severe infections has rightfully been paraded by biomedical researchers as a vindication of the value of laboratory animals in research. Opponents of animal experimentation are equally emphatic that animal experiments not only played no part in the development of penicillin but also that reliance on such techniques might well have caused penicillin to be discarded (1,2). The basis of the animal rights argument is that Fleming did not use animals but the “humble culture dish” (1) and that penicillin would never have been used in patients if physicians had...

    • 18. The History of Thalidomide
      (pp. 183-198)

      No drug has had a greater effect than thalidomide on the extent and intensity of the preclinical investigation of potential medicines required by the regulatory authorities. Indeed, the establishment of thalidomide as the cause of the apparent epidemic of children born with horrific deformities in the late 1950s was responsible for the institution of some regulatory bodies, such as the United Kingdom’s Committee on the Safety of Drugs, and for the strengthening of others, such as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the United States. Despite this, the history of the development of thalidomide, and of the subsequent studies...

    • 19. Misleading Research or Misleading Statistics: Animal Experiments and Cancer Research
      (pp. 199-210)

      Scientists supported by the Cancer Research Campaign have prepared a vaccine which it is hoped will protect against infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Apart from causing glandular fever EBV is believed to be one causative factor for certain cancers. There is firm evidence for the involvement of this virus in Burkitt’s lymphoma and in cancer of the throat and nasopharynx, and evidence for the suggested link between EBV and Hodgkin’s disease is becoming more conclusive.

      Progress has recently been made in the search for a vaccine against the Epstein-Barr virus. A new vaccine has undergone Phase I clinical trials in...

  9. Index
    (pp. 211-222)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-225)