Elsevier, a global information analytics company, has conducted a big data study to assess the prognostic value of animal toxicity data for humans. They have analyzed 1 637 449 adverse events registered in humans and five most widely used animals and found out that some animal experiments were much more predictive for humans than others. The results depended on the species and type of adverse event. Therefore, these findings may help to improve safety for patients and allow pharmaceutical companies to decrease the number of animals used in laboratories by choosing only those tests which have high predictive value.
Dr Matthew Clark, Director of Scientific Services at Elsevier stated: “All life science companies have a desire to decrease animal testing, and with continued pressure from governments, societies, and animal welfare groups, pharmaceutical organizations are exploring ways to do that.” He has also added that by improving analyses of big data it can become possible for scientists to choose experiments “based on the species that have the most predictive relationship with a human depending on the drug in question, and therefore rule out needless testing.”
One of the most significant findings to emerge from this study is that there is a high degree of correlation between animal and human responses for some specific adverse events especially cardiac events such as arrhythmia. However, sometimes adverse events registered in animals have never been observed in humans and vice versa. Taken together, these results allowed Elsevier to make a dataset that will offer scientists a way to choose tests with better prognostic values based on species, adverse event, and drug formulation.