Marking the first time in the history of UBC (and any animal care and use committee in the world), Dr. Ray Greek, noted authority on the unreliability of animal research, was invited to speak to the university’s Animal Care Committee recently.
Dr. Greek presented his Trans Species Modeling Theory, developed with the late Niall Shanks, and spoke of the many reasons why results from animal models are misleading when even the slightest difference between members of the same species, such as monozygotic twins, can result in vastly different reactions to drugs. His talk focused on the personalized medicine of microdosing which can foretell exactly how a drug will work in one’s own body and how it is the real path to effective treatment. He argued that the technology for such an approach already exists and that animal research could – and should – be stopped immediately. He surprised listeners by stating that even pharmaceutical companies want to move away from testing on animals as only 1 out of every 10 drugs coming out of research and development on animals makes its way to market, at the cost of millions of dollars for each drug developed. Animal testing is a money-losing venture for pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Greek stated that the stumbling block for immediate change is from the world of academia, as universities are entrenched in the lucrative government grant system. He suggested that pressure must be applied to government to defund animal testing and research in favour of innovative, effective and predictive non-animal methods.
Dr. Greek invited anyone interested in the life sciences to review his Open Access published papers and encourages peer-reviewed debate which could be a game-changer for the future of research.
We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Hinda Avery for opening her home for a welcome reception for Dr. Greek; to Layne, Jean and Dave for their kind funding assistance; to Karl Losken for delivering Dr. Greek safely to his residence; to the team at Simon Fraser University Events; to Alan at Green College UBC; and to Mia, Kelly and Dayla who created a stunning poster announcing Dr. Greek’s talks. To all the members of UBC’s Animal Care Committee (Lynn, Fred, Dr. Burt and Dr. Ono) – we appreciate the opportunity you gave for Dr. Greek to address you and hope that his call for a critical evaluation of animal protocols resonates with you.