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What lessons can we draw from the Northwick drug trial catastrophe? Plus new data provides evidence for cosmic inflation theory. Or does it?

By Philip Ball   May 2006

Lessons from Northwick drug trial

Perhaps the most important lesson from the catastrophic human trial of TeGenero’s TGN1412 drug at Northwick Park hospital is that it is dangerous to generalise. Dangerous for drug companies, which in this instance assumed, reasonably but nearly fatally, that the immune system of monkeys was all but identical to that of humans. Dangerous for opponents of animal experiments, who cannot credibly argue that this episode undermines the entire concept of animal models. (If that were so, the events at Northwick would be routine.) And perhaps dangerous for the immunologists pursuing this strategy of recruiting…

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