Group’s Petition Signed by 40K Supporters Is Backed by Physicians Groups
For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2022
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – Today, as President Joe Biden announces plans to cut the rate of cancer deaths in the U.S. in half, PETA scientists sent a petition request to National Cancer Institute Director Norman Sharpless asking that the agency prioritize research that can actually help cancer patients, rather than continuing to rely on animal experiments that have failed.
The petition was signed by 39,760 people and follows a letter, co-signed by the National Hispanic Medical Association, 104 U.S. physicians and health-care professionals, and PETA scientists, that was sent to Sharpless and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric Lander in November, and a PETA white paper, requesting five critical changes to federal cancer funding. The group released a full-page newspaper ad to underscore the effort.
PETA’s petition and ad coincide with Biden’s announcement today that the U.S. will relaunch the Cancer Moonshot. PETA is hopeful about the president’s anticipated approach. According to the White House statement on the matter, the priorities of the new Cancer Moonshot are cancer prevention and care, individualized treatments, addressing racial disparities in cancer rates and fatalities, and support for patients and their families.
History shows this is a wise move. Despite the $140 billion that has been spent on cancer-related initiatives in the past 50 years, including experiments on countless animals, cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in the U.S.—as it was a half-century ago. One reason for this lack of progress is that cancer drugs tested on animals fail in human clinical trials 96.6% of the time.
“The Bidens know that what cancer patients need is better prevention, earlier and more frequent screenings, and better care during treatment, not more failing animal experiments,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Katherine Roe. “PETA thanks the president for following the science and putting his priorities in areas that reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, saving patients and sparing animals’ lives.”
PETA’s petition requests that the National Cancer Institute take the following actions:
- Reallocate National Institutes of Health intramural and extramural research funding toward animal-free, human-relevant models
- Convene or commission an unbiased committee to review the translatability of cancer research and carcinogenicity assessment in animals to human patients
- Provide regulators and researchers with opportunities to receive free training and education on the use of human-relevant models
- Adopt legislation to create new federal regulations to replace outdated requirements of the lifetime tests on rats and mice for carcinogenicity assessment with rapid, reliable, and human-relevant models
- Increase the percentage and amount of federal funding allocated to cancer prevention
PETA scientists point out that in vitro methods, such as organs-on-chips and tissue engineering, as well as three-dimensional printing, human genomics, and computational biology are more efficient and accurate for studying cancer in humans and protecting human health and that cancer prevention and control, which does save lives, has been erroneously underfunded.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.