is biomedical research?
Biomedical research is an approach used towards solving medical problems.
It deals with beliefs or theories which can be proven or disproven through
observations and experimentation. Before humans can be asked to
participate in testing, researchers must first use animals whose living
systems best represent that of humans. Almost every major medical
advance in this century has been dependent on animal research and it
remains critical to unlocking the cure to many diseases which still claim
the lives of millions.
What is the scientific method/research process?
Science generally starts with an
unanswered question or problem in
the mind of the researcher. All
important information is collected
and studied, and possible solutions to
the problem are proposed that help
direct the researcher to the facts.
Experiments are usually set up that
will either support or disprove the
theory (hypothesis). The data is then
collected and organized, and the
results interpreted. A confirmation or
rejection of the hypothesis provides
answers which may begin the process
all over again.
What are the different types
Basic Research is undertaken to
increase knowledge about the basic
processes of living organisms.
Animal models are often used to
observe and evaluate those life
processes. This type of research
provides the foundation upon which
other types of research are built.
Clinical Research focuses on using
humans and is based on basic
Product Safety Research involves
in vitro (an artificial environment),
in vivo (within a living organism),
and human testing using the exact
chemical substance or compound
that is intended for or actually exists
in a product that will be sold to and
used by humans or animals.
Why are animals used in biomedical research?
Animals are used in biomedical research as biological models
instead of using humans. Researchers use animal models
because they help answer questions that could not be
answered with the technology and methods that currently
exist. Many animals have numerous anatomical, cellular,
physiological, and biochemical similarities with humans
which help us understand human diseases and how the
human body works. The use of animals allows for testing
various forms of treatment for illnesses and conditions
found in both humans and animals.
What research has been dependent on animals?
- Kidney, liver, heart, pancreas, and lung transplants
developed using dogs, sheep, cows, and pigs.
- Study of vitamin B deficiency, which causes heart and
nerve impairment, using chickens.
- Leprosy research using monkeys and armadillos.
- Vaccines developed for polio, cholera, diphtheria,
influenza, and plague.
- Research on the communicative abilities of primates has
led to strategies for teaching language to mentally
- Medical innovations including: artificial hearts, artificial
limbs, CT scan, monoclonal antibodies, ultrasound,
- Development of gene therapy/replacement which has a
wide potential for future treatment for genetic disorders
such as cystic fibrosis.
Are there alternatives to using animals?
There are no real alternatives to animal research but science
has over the course of time developed a number of non
animal research models, including: cell and tissue cultures,
biochemical tests, and computer simulations. These methods
however cannot mirror the complex processes that occur in
the living animal so eventually animal models must be used
before the research can be tried on humans.
Science Process Terms
Many of the following skills are
used in solving medical problems.
To collect data through use of the five senses.
To recognize similarities and differences
between objects, events, and places.
To name objects, events, and places.
To arrange or organize based on
To find the dimensions, quantity, or
capacity of something.
To state a future occurrence based on
To check or test the accuracy of
To form a hypothesis (a possible
explanation to a problem, a theory).
To plan and conduct tests to support or
disprove a hypothesis.
- Between 10 and 17
million dogs and cats
are euthanized in pounds
and shelters annually.
- Approximately 1.1% of
dogs and cats that would
otherwise be put to death
in pounds and shelters
are used in research.
- Rats, mice, and other
rodents comprise 85--95%
of all research animals.
- Primates make up about
1/3 of 1% of animals used
in the US for research.
- The majority of animals
used in research are
bred specifically for
that purpose by USDA
- The number of animal
models used for
annually has declined
40% since 1968
- n estimated 17 to 22
million vertebrate animals
are used each year in
research --- less than
1% of the number killed
- Humans now live an
additional 20.8 years
because of biomedical