I am writing to urge the National Institutes of Health to end lengthy and inhumane prion experiments on animals at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT. These experiments, purported to study whether Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is transmissible to humans, have produced only inconclusive results in over a decade.
Monkeys have been infected with CWD-causing prions via holes drilled into their brains or force-fed infected tissues. Similar studies have been conducted on mice.
Many of the mice and monkeys were considered to have died of reasons unrelated to the study, including anorexia, diabetes, injuries, depression, cancer, difficulty breathing – and simply because the study was declared over.
After many years of misery – in some cases over 13 years – the results of these grotesque animal experiments are vague and mixed, summarized by a systematic review that concluded a “high level of uncertainty” regarding possible transmission of CWD to humans. [Transbound Emerg Dis. 2018 Feb;65(1):37-49].
NIH’s recent work using human cerebral organoids to study human prion disease demonstrates a promising human-relevant method, whereas animal experiments have failed to yield convincing results about contagion or promise of treatment.
Please end these archaic experiments using sentient animals and embrace modern, efficient and superior non-animal technology such as human cerebral organoids.