Advances in Medical Science

How Animal Testing and Research Has Helped You

Many diseases that plagued the globe are now preventable, treatable or have been eradicated because of medical research involving animals.

In fact, when you take antibiotics, get a vaccine, a blood transfusion, dialysis or chemotherapy, you’re able to do so because of animal testing and research. Practically every drug, treatment, medical device, diagnostic tool or cure in place today was developed with the help of laboratory animals.

Animal research also saves and improves the lives of household pets, farm animals, wildlife and endangered species in the form of medications, vaccinations and medical devices. For example, feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus infections, both major causes of death in cats, can be avoided with vaccinations. Similarly, an annual vaccination protects dogs against the often deadly canine parvovirus.

These are just some of the benefits of animal testing.

Postnatal care
UTMB researchers, in studies that involved the use of animals, have made these advances in medical science:
Other discoveries that involved the use of animals, have made these advances in medical science:
  • 1905: The first transplant surgery is performed on a person.
  • 1913: People begin being vaccinated against diphtheria.
  • 1914: Vitamin A is discovered, preventing deficiency that can result in serious eye damage.
  • 1915: Blood transfusion studies lay the groundwork for today’s routine transfusion treatment.
  • 1923: Insulin begins to be used in diabetic patients.
  • 1928: Dogs begin receiving canine distemper vaccinations.
  • 1933: People begin receiving tetanus vaccinations.
  • 1939: Heparin begins to be used as a blood thinner, reducing risk of stroke, heart attack and brain aneurism.
  • 1940: Penicillin is shown to protect mice against infection.
  • 1940: Hip replacement surgery begins to improve people and animal lives.
  • 1945: Dialysis is successfully used to treat patients with kidney disorders.  
  • 1947: Chemotherapy begins to be used to treat leukemia.
  • 1953: The Polio vaccine is developed.
  • 1954: Kidney transplant.
  • 1958: The cardiac pacemaker begins to correct arrhythmias.
  • 1960: Coronary bypass surgery begins saving people’s lives and improves quality of life. 
  • 1961: Artificial heart valves prove to be a viable solution to several heart conditions.
  • 1963: Measles, Mumps, Rubella or combined MMR vaccine becomes available.
  • 1964: Regulation of cholesterol.
  • 1967: People begin successfully receiving heart transplants.
  • 1987: AZT becomes the first approved treatment for HIV and AIDS. 
  • 1980: MRI scanning begins to be used.
  • 1980: Smallpox is eradicated globally through vaccination.
  • 1982: A drug therapy for leprosy becomes available, reducing worldwide cases by 97 percent.  
  • 1992: Vaccine for bacterial hib meningitis, a major cause of disease in young children becomes available. Hib infections fell by 70 percent in Britain from January to March in 1993. 
  • 2006: Vaccination against human papillomavirus becomes available. HPV vaccination can prevent 70 percent of cervical cancers, 80 percent of anal cancers, 60 percent of vaginal cancers, 40 percent of vulvar cancers and possible some mouth cancers.
  • 2011: Artificial blood substitute that can last without refrigeration for up to three years is developed. 

For more information about animal testing, visit the Foundation for Biomedical Research website.