PETA Scientists Take On War on Cancer’s 50-Year Failure

In Response to This Failure, PETA Scientists Propose Bold Plan for Modernizing Cancer Research

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2021

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


This year marks the 50th anniversary of former President Richard Nixon’s “war on cancer” and the signing of the National Cancer Act. Over $140 billion has been spent on cancer-related initiatives in the past 50 years, yet cancer remains the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. in a typical year. One reason for this lack of progress is that cancer drugs tested on animals fail in human clinical trials 96.6% of the time. So today, PETA scientists  and 104 physicians sent a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and to the National Cancer Institute, asking them to implement animal-free methodologies outlined in the group’s new white paper.

In the paper, PETA scientists point out that 50 years of animal experiments have not led to new treatments, interventions, or cures for cancer and that innovative, non-animal research holds more promise for finding cures and detecting cancer-causing chemicals. 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 to protect human health.

The white paper also suggests the following actions:

  • Re-allocate National Institutes of Health intramural and extramural research funding for animal-free, human-relevant models
  • Commission an unbiased, multi-stakeholder committee to conduct systematic reviews of 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  • Adopt legislation to create new federal regulations to replace the outdated requirements of lifetime tests on rats and mice
  • Increase the percentage and amount of federal funding allocated  for cancer prevention

“Repeatedly subjecting animals to cruel, useless tests just won’t win this war,” says PETA senior scientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is urging federal policymakers to follow the science and implement strategies to advance cancer research and prevention—a move that will save patients and spare millions of animals’ lives.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiments on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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