Clinical Trials Have Been Found To Cause Cancer In Rats

Ever notice that it seems like no matter what is being tested, ClinicalTrialsHaveBeenFoundToCauseCancerInRats.

Are rats just more prone to Cancer?

Or, do they just use CancerProneRats? for ClinicalTrials??

Or, is it simply that when you give huge overdoses of foreign bodies to rats they tend to have an increased risk of Cancer?

Or, maybe everything in this world is toxic and we're all just going to hell... Time to think some HappyThoughts now.

Thought I'd add this after reading NutraSweet. -- JasonNocks

NutraSweet causes a fierce physical addiction. That's why it's legal, despite raising the death rates from brain cancer. So... "ClinicalTrialsHaveBeenFoundToCauseAddictionInRats" is closer to the truth... -- PhlIp


Smoking is the leading cause of Clinical Trials.

Smoking is the leading cause of Statistics.

Including "100% of smokers die".

Clinical Trials are the leading cause of cancer in rats.


Jokes along these lines have been circulating since the 1970s.

But in all seriousness, some years ago the reason was uncovered. The pure strain of rats that is universally used in cancer studies (and other medical and biological studies) have a predisposition to get cancer, far more so than wild type rats.

So basically 100% of the old studies that purport to conclude that various things cause cancer in rats are invalid, and so are most of the new studies, since most people are still using the defective rat strain.

There was a move afoot to come up with a new rat strain that didn't have this problem, but I lost track of what happened there. The background on this is that, in empirical science, reproducibility is critical, which leads to the notion that all rats used in studies should ideally be genetically identical, otherwise the genetic variation could be responsible for variations in trials both in a single lab and of course also in other labs trying to reproduce a result. They just happened to standardize on a particularly bad pure strain, but replacing it has quite a few logistical difficulties.

Moral: if something "scientific" seems absolutely ludicrous over many trials, it probably is ludicrous and not scientific. (Hmm, that's probably how Creationists look at science. Ah, well.)

-- DougMerritt

Shouldn't the use of control groups make this a non-issue? I.e., instead of "Chemical X causes cancer in rats" the conclusion would be something like "Rats exposed to Chemical X are 99 times more likely to get cancer than the control group."

No. The reasonable studies do indeed do that. But both the study and control group are the same bogus strain of mouse, that's the whole point. Whereas if you did the same study on wild strain mice, you'd see no difference in cancer rates. But they're rarely done on wild strain, as explained above.

The issue isn't that the 'pure' mice get cancer on their own more often (although this may well be an effect); instead, the issue is that they are much more sensitive to their environments. Something that would cause cancer in a pure mouse may not make any discernible difference in a wild mouse.


To some, this may sound a bit like problems specific to PureBreed?s in general. Selective breeding is well known to concentrate genetic traits. This tends to include a certain number of undesirable traits, not just desirable ones.

Along these lines, certain breeds of dogs are prone to problems associated with that particular breed, significantly more so than in the dog population in general. For example, GermanShepherd?s are prone to hip dysplasia whereas other breeds have patella problems, etc. Breeders try to avoid and later remove these problems associated with a specific breed.

Theoretically, it's not in principle impossible to avoid these problems. There is nothing to forbid creating a strain of mice that is not cancer prone, it just depends on how the strain is bred, just as with breeds of dogs. However, others would quickly point out that "Unfortunately, reality is a big stick in the mud". So, we end up with cancer prone rats and dogs prone to their own maladies (not particularly lab induced).

So,what we need is a strain of rats that are cancer resistant so that we can use them to test what substances/behaviors causes cancer in humans?

I'm not a huge fan of animal testing, so I'll stop right here before I generate even further off-topic nonsense. Cheers, -- jn
I actually remember reading a short story in Amazing magazine, somewhere in the late eighties or early nineties, about just this - a medical researcher got sick of everything he loved in life being found to cause cancer in lab rats, so he bread a better lab rat, so he could show that the things he loved consuming didn't cause cancer in lab rats.
CategoryWhimsy

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