I blame Mickey for the confusion. Certainly, the world’s most famous mouse carries some very human traits. So, I can understand why some researchers would believe mice are the perfect test subjects for medicines and treatments for human ailments. Oddly enough, Mickey and friends don’t really represent the majority of the mouse population.
Here’s what one typically looks like.
As you can see in the above picture, this doesn’t resemble humans like Mickey does.
We can all have great fun with this. But, in reality, this is tragic. People may think the above is simply jest, but it isn’t. People whom the public has trusted: Trusted their objectivity, trusted their judgment, and trusted their abilities, with treasure and life have failed us. They’ve shown a thought process too rigid, too compliant, and frankly, too simple to have such trust. They simply aren’t smart enough to warrant such trust.
Forgive me, I haven’t told you what I’m on about. New study out!!!
Now, I do welcome the news. However, we’ve known about inflammatory diseases for a very long time now. Far too long for us to have just now accepted the fact that mice may not be good test subjects for all things human. Here’s the accompanying press release.
Here’s some notable parts of the piece.
For decades, mice have been the species of choice in the study of human diseases. But now, researchers report evidence that the mouse model has been totally misleading for at least three major killers — sepsis, burns and trauma. As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads, they say.
Oddly, they left out the part of about the millions of people dying because of this idiocy.
The paper, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps explain why every one of nearly 150 drugs tested at a huge expense in patients with sepsis has failed. The drug tests all were based on studies in mice. And mice, it turns out, can have something that looks like sepsis in humans, but is very different from the condition in humans.
How many times does one have to do things which result in failure before one realizes the process may be wrong? ……. That perhaps a different approach may be warranted?
Sepsis, a potentially deadly reaction that occurs as the body tries to fight an infection, afflicts 750,000 patients a year in the United States, kills one-fourth to one-half of them, and costs the nation $17 billion a year. It is the leading cause of death in intensive-care units.
The new study, which took 10 years and involved 39 researchers from across the country, began by studying white blood cells from hundreds of patients with severe burns, trauma or sepsis to see what genes were being used by white blood cells when responding to these danger signals.
Because WBCs are a very new discovery in the medical and science world.
The researchers found some interesting patterns and accumulated a large, rigorously collected data set that should help move the field forward, said Ronald W. Davis, a genomics expert at Stanford University and a lead author of the new paper. Some patterns seemed to predict who would survive and who would end up in intensive care, clinging to life and, often, dying.
The group had tried to publish its findings in several papers. One objection, Dr. Davis said, was that the researchers had not shown the same gene response had happened in mice.
Because if it doesn’t work for Mickey, it won’t work for humans?
“They were so used to doing mouse studies that they thought that was how you validate things,” he said. “They are so ingrained in trying to cure mice that they forget we are trying to cure humans.”
Any researcher so invested in such rigid thinking needs to become an accountant or something. Certainly, they shouldn’t be entrusted with our lives and treasure.
“That started us thinking,” he continued. “Is it the same in the mouse or not?”
The group decided to look, expecting to find some similarities. But when the data were analyzed, there were none at all.
Even more surprising, Dr. Warren said, was that different conditions in mice — burns, trauma, sepsis — did not fit the same pattern. Each condition used different groups of genes. In humans, though, similar genes were used in all three conditions.
Better late than never?
The study’s investigators tried for more than a year to publish their paper, which showed that there was no relationship between the genetic responses of mice and those of humans. They submitted it to the publications Science and Nature, hoping to reach a wide audience. It was rejected from both.
Science and Nature…….. yes, the guardians of static knowledge.
Still, Dr. Davis said, reviewers did not point out scientific errors. Instead, he said, “the most common response was, ‘It has to be wrong. I don’t know why it is wrong, but it has to be wrong.’ ”
How often do we see this in science? Much too frequently.
“When I read the paper, I was stunned by just how bad the mouse data are,” Dr. Fink said. “It’s really amazing — no correlation at all. These data are so persuasive and so robust that I think funding agencies are going to take note.” Until now, he said, “to get funding, you had to propose experiments using the mouse model.”
Whomever was responsible for or even helped make this a policy should be charged with murder and/or accessory to murder.
Yet there was always one major clue that mice might not really mimic humans in this regard: it is very hard to kill a mouse with a bacterial infection. Mice need a million times more bacteria in their blood than what would kill a person.
We’ve know this for decades.
“This is a very important paper,” said Dr. Richard Hotchkiss, a sepsis researcher at Washington University who was not involved in the study. “It argues strongly — go to the patients. Get their cells. Get their tissues whenever you can. Get cells from airways.”
“To understand sepsis, you have to go to the patients,” he said.
A novel approach, to be sure.
Can people, supposedly our best and brightest, really be that stupid? To get a feel for what has been known and what obvious conclusions one can make from what was known, read Wiki’s history section of “sepsis“. I point to Wiki because wiki is woefully simplistic and reflects common knowledge. Of course, not always, sometimes it is simply wrong, but, this Wiki entry is reasonably explanatory.
As the article mentions, this doesn’t mean that all study of mice is useless. But, what should have been obvious to anyone with a working brain cell is that mice and humans are not the same, and even in genetic or molecular biology, we will not always react in the same manner.
Question: How is it that mice transmit diseases that may kill humans but, not the mouse? Answer: BECAUSE WE DON’T RESPOND IN THE SAME MANNER!!!
Our best and brightest just now figured this out. Now, here’s a thought, and only a suggestion from a lowly layman. Let’s find an animal which may more closely mimic humans in the case of sepsis than mice do. And, as the article suggested, maybe we could more focus more on the genetic and cellular responses of humans when they have this inflammatory immune response. Just some thoughts.