Why are animal models used in research into human disease and conditions?

The humane use of animals in research is used to advance scientific understanding, as models to study disease, to develop and test new medical treatments and to protect the safety of people, animals and the environment.

Many of the world’s most important medical breakthroughs would not have been possible without humane animal experimentation. Nobel Prize-winning breakthroughs have occurred thanks to animal research: these include the discovery of penicillin, vaccines, antibiotics, chemotherapy, organ transplants and the role of HPV and HIV in causing disease.

In some studies examining human disease, there is an opportunity to research these illnesses in an environment that simulates human biological function and minimise misleading results given using non-animal methods. The similarity of some mouse-human biological systems means that human disease in these systems can be better understood by observing effects on mouse models.