Using animals in research

Benefits of animal research

What are the benefits of animal research?

Researcher in a lab

Research on animals has been essential for major advances in both human and veterinary medicine. We are now able to prevent and treat diseases and conditions which were once fatal, and major operations such as organ transplants, and procedures such as kidney dialysis and blood transfusions, are now possible.

Research on animals has allowed the investigation of some of the more challenging medical conditions such as heart disease, depression, HIV and many cancers, while also offering hope to millions who suffer from life-threatening diseases. In veterinary medicine animal research has led to the development of vaccines for major animal diseases, such as canine parvovirus and feline leukaemia.

At Portsmouth some of our research investigates diseases of the nervous, muscular and circulatory systems that are involved in conditions such as muscular dystrophy and Alzheimer’s, and our developmental biologists are examining the basic processes of life so that the nature of diseases can be understood.

Some case studies are available below:

Research using animals has contributed to the following:

  • Gene therapy for inherited diseases
  • Modern anaesthetics
  • Transplants of heart, kidneys and cornea
  • Vaccines for: malaria; hepatitis; diptheria; polio meningitis; German measles; Alzheimer’s disease; whooping cough; cervical cancer and avian flu
  • CT scanning for improved diagnosis
  • Pain prevention treatment
  • Coronary bypass operations
  • Drugs to control high blood pressure
  • Drugs to treat ulcers, asthma and many cancers
  • Treatment for river blindness
  • Combined drug therapy for HIV infection, which delays the development of AIDS
  • Anticoagulants
  • Replacement heart valves
  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections; and vaccines and drugs to control viral infections
  • Insulin for people with diabetes
  • Life support systems for premature babies
  • Drugs preventing transplant rejection
  • Developments in blood transfusion techniques - now a routine and life-saving procedure
  • Hip replacement surgery
  • Cardiac pacemakers
  • Heart-lung machine for open heart surgery
  • Broad spectrum antibiotics for infections
  • Improved sutures and other surgical techniques
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Drugs for adult leukaemia and lymphoma
  • Drugs to control mental illness and depression
  • Canine distemper vaccine
  • Feline leukaemia vaccine