Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Improving animal research

Misunderstanding the goals of animal research

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 21 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k759
  1. Eric J Rubin, professor,
  2. Sarah M Fortune, professor
  1. Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
  1. erubin{at}

We welcome the application of rigorous standards to preclinical research, but the position expressed by Ritskes-Hoitinga and Wever misses the central value of most animal experimentation.1 Medical research exists on a spectrum from fundamental discovery to clinical validation. Human studies must meet very high levels of proof and, therefore, can generally rigorously test only a single hypothesis. The vast majority …

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