• Question: Do you help create drugs for fighting cancer and if so do you test on animals? If you do test on animals then instead of making cancer grow on animals on purpose, would you consider using animals with naturally occuring cancer instead?

    Asked by anon-317048 to Sophie on 1 Apr 2022.
    • Photo: Sophie Strickfuss

      Sophie Strickfuss answered on 28 Mar 2022:

      Yes, I do work on new cancer drugs, but personably I do not conduct testing on animals.

      All new drugs are tested on healthy animals though, to make sure they are safe before they can be given to people. Cancer drugs are then also tested on animals who have cancer, to check if the drug works are reducing tumours for example. To make this testing consistent, so that results from different trials can be compared, mice that have been genetically treated to develop cancer are used. It would be very difficult to use animals with naturally occurring cancers for the tests as there would be too many other variables, like age, gender, other health conditions… and it would be difficult to get enough animals.
      The mice are treated to develop cancers which are similar to the cancers people grow, so the results are applicable to people. Natural cancers in mice might not be the same, and if a drug worked on natural cancers in mice, it might not work on human cancers.

      The pharma industry is also working on reducing the numbers of animals used for testing, ensuring the animals are treated well, and developing other models for testing so that the testing can be done in a test tube instead of using a live animal.

      Hope this answers your question – it is a very long answer!