All models are wrong — but some models are less wrong than others. At the interface of tissue engineering and microfluidic technology, tumor-on-chip systems offer tantalizing possibilities of unraveling human tumor biology and drug responses, while minimizing the time, cost, and ethical concerns of animal research.
The epidemiological link between red meat and cancer is no longer debatable – what remains uncertain is how exactly this happens, and why the human species appears to be unique in its susceptibility.
This is a story of mice and men. It is not a happy story – not for us, and not for them. It is estimated that about 115 million animals are used annually in biomedical research and drug testing around the world. Is this justified? Many of the diseases which are studied using animal models do not even naturally occur in animals. Owing to inherent genetic differences, the ability of animal models to predict human drug responses is tenuous at best.
Why is it that we recoil with visceral disgust when we see a man kicking a dog in the street, but not when we see a man in a clean white coat injecting a toxic substance into a mouse, or even a beagle, in a clean white laboratory? Is humanity suffering from a case of moral schizophrenia?