Have you, or somebody you love or know, been diagnosed with a disease or illness that was treated medically and now clear or in remission? If you search hard enough, they are there in your life. Could be a family member, coworker, or a neighbor. Have you ever wondered how it is that we have advanced so far in medical research?
For the younger generation it may be hard to grasp the fact that at one time many of the illnesses and diseases that are somewhat commonplace today were rampant killer’s decades ago. Through the selfless and sleepless nights of many a researcher have come cures and medicine to treat these once feared diagnoses.
The parallels between technology and medicine need no introduction. The days of a Doctor showing up at the home of a sick patient with a “bag of tricks” if you will are long gone. Today we are fortunate to have medical devices and equipment, pharmaceuticals, and information technology that is far superior to anything a man or woman could have dreamed of a short time ago.
When we as a society recognize that vaccines, per the World Health Organization, save approximately 3 million lives a year and help prevent millions of others from contracting these diseases and viruses, we are obliged to offer thanks. Thanks to the men and women who work tirelessly in the research and development of these vaccines.
What methods are employed in this life giving and saving field of medical research? One of the most common methods is the utilization of mice. So, some will ask, why use mice? The answer is simple. Mice and humans share between 95 and 98 percent of the same genomes (If you are like me and don’t remember what a genome is from our school days, it is a complete set of genes).
It also turns out that mice and humans share many of the same diseases, and we also share with mice the same genetic reasons for these diseases! So mice turn out to be as close to perfect of a fit for medical research as possible.
If you are a curious personality type like myself, you may find it very interesting to learn how it is that mice are “tracked” during this life saving research and development. At first you may conjure up images of a man or woman performing some inhumane or cruel act to attach a tracking device to the mouse. In today’s world that is becoming a practice of the past.
When organizations such as the FDA, Mount Sinai, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases utilize automated ear tags it demonstrates how far we have come as a society in the medical research field. The research community is demonstrating that the welfare of the mice matter contrary to what the animal rights activist zealots will try to get you to believe.
As a society we are living in a time when we should “tip our hats” to the men and women who labor in the medical research field for they have helped save millions of lives and millions of lives to come.