Note of caution

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Your story about a possible medical breakthrough (“Alzheimer’s pill ‘is ten years away’”, 10 October) misses a crucial fact.

Readers should be cautioned that, according to official government figures, around 90 per cent of drugs which pass trials in other species, such as mice, which were used in this study, ultimately prove either unsafe or ineffective for humans. Researchers often oversell the value of their work, but it is important for those of us with loved ones afflicted by Alzheimer’s, or who fear its onset ourselves, to stay grounded in reality.

The only certainty regarding animal research is that animals needlessly suffer and die.

Continuing to use a species that is very different in fundamental ways from our own – although not, unfortunately, in terms of the ability to feel pain and fear – means continuing to rely on a fundamentally flawed scientific technique in an age of real technological and epidemiological breakthroughs.

Ben Williamson

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta)

London