Of mice and men

by reestheskin on 18/02/2016

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It’s no secret that therapies that look promising in mice rarely work in people. But too often, experimental treatments that succeed in one mouse population do not even work in other mice, suggesting that many rodent studies may be flawed from the start. Nature

As it says, ‘no secret’. Science is usually self correcting, but the time period may vary. What has always puzzled me is how in the areas of biology I know something about, mouse work has been so informative; whereas in others, all is seems to be good for, is publication is high impact journals. For those interested in pigmentation, mice have been wonderfully informative, whereas for those other bits of skin biology I am familiar with (ahem), like inflammation, mice have been less helpful. A part of me wonders whether some of this is  due to whether you are trying to identify potential pathways, or whether you are trying to build interventions based on particular pathways. And finally, lest there be any confusion, I am not one of those who believes we haven’t learned a lot from animals.