Mar 30, 2012Science and Technology
Making mice comfy leads to better drug testing, Stanford researcher says

Nine out of 10 drugs successfully tested in mice and other animal models ultimately fail to work in people, and one reason may be traced back to a common fact of life for lab mice: they're cold. Lab mice, which account for the vast majority of animal research subjects, are routinely housed in chilly conditions, which may affect the outcome of research studies, said Joseph Garner, Stanford University School of Medicine. "If you want to design a drug that will help a patient in the hospital, you cannot reasonably do that in animals that are cold-stressed and are compensating with an elevated metabolic rate," Garner said. "This will change all aspects of their physiology -- such as how fast the liver breaks down a drug -- which can't help but increase the chance that a drug will behave differently in mice and in humans." In a new study, Garner and his colleagues report an easy solution to the problem: Provide the animals with proper materials and they'll build a cozy nest. 

Relevant Locations: Palo Alto, CA, USA
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