Critical evaluation of challenges and future use of animals in experimentation for biomedical research

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2016 Dec;29(4):551-561. doi: 10.1177/0394632016671728. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


Animal experiments that are conducted worldwide contribute to significant findings and breakthroughs in the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of various diseases, bringing up appropriate clinical interventions. However, their predictive value is often low, leading to translational failure. Problems like translational failure of animal studies and poorly designed animal experiments lead to loss of animal lives and less translatable data which affect research outcomes ethically and economically. Due to increasing complexities in animal usage with changes in public perception and stringent guidelines, it is becoming difficult to use animals for conducting studies. This review deals with challenges like poor experimental design and ethical concerns and discusses key concepts like sample size, statistics in experimental design, humane endpoints, economic assessment, species difference, housing conditions, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses that are often neglected. If practiced, these strategies can refine the procedures effectively and help translate the outcomes efficiently.

Keywords: ethics; humane endpoints; meta-analysis; pre-clinical trials; statistics; systematic review; three Rs.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Experimentation / standards*
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Research Design / standards*