A major, groundbreaking study carried out by Elsevier, a global informatics company, in partnership with Bayer pharmaceuticals, investigating how well animal studies predict human safety may lead to reduced animal testing and better clinical results for patients.

Researchers investigated the consistency between preclinical animal testing and observations made in human clinical trials. They looked at 3,290 approved drugs and studied 1,637,449 adverse events that were reported for humans and the five most commonly used animals in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulatory documents.

Some animal tests showed that they are far better at predicting human response than others, depending on the species and symptom being reported. As well as the implications for improving patient safety, the results of this analysis can help pharmaceutical companies decide which tests are appropriate and which could be ruled out to reduce unnecessary testing on animals.

Dr Matthew Clark, director of scientific services at Elsevier, said, “All life science companies have a desire to decrease animal testing, and with continued pressure from governments, societies, and animal welfare groups, pharmaceutical organisations are exploring ways to do that.

“Though generally accepted that animals predict human responses, the concordance has never been investigated on this scale before. Our big data study shows that through improved analysis of data, researchers can select tests based on the species that have the most predictive relationship with a human depending on the drug in question, and therefore rule out needless testing.’

Read more in Pharmaphorum here