Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Slow News Day at the UW Vivisection Labs

The University of Wisconsin-Madison news advisory begins like this:

With rat genome as guide, human breast cancer risk refined
April 2, 2007

by Terry Devitt

It almost sounds like real news until one thinks about the claims:

Combing the genomes of the rat and the human, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found swaths of genetic code that can be used to assess the risk of human breast cancer.
Well, not exactly. The report goes on to say that the mutations looked at by the rsearchers occur in less than 1 percent of women and are thus too rare to be used effectively for breast cancer screening. And even in this tiny slice of the population, only 19% of those with the mutation will develop breast cancer. This is a breakthrough worthy of a press release?

The report claims:
The rat model for breast cancer, developed by Gould's lab during the past decade, provides a unique window to the molecular levers that influence disease. The rat is a good model for breast cancer because the disease manifests itself in the animal in much the same way it occurs in humans.
Wow! The rat model of breast cancer was developed by this researcher's lab over the past decade. Except, it wasn't. Mammary tumors in rats have been failing as predictive and useful models of human breast cancer for a very long time.

Maybe the UW-Madison spin doctors had a quota to fill. Here's some better information about breast cancer research.

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