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Sir Paul McCartney's defense of animal research draws praise from prominent American scientists.

Three prominent American medical scientists and researchers praised Sir Paul McCartney, world famous former member of the Beatles, for publicly recognizing the important role animal research plays in developing advancing treatments for serious diseases. McCartney's wife, Linda passed away in August (?) from breast cancer.

In a letter released by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), world renowned heart transplant surgeon and FBR chairman Michael DeBakey, MD, and Nobel Laureates David Hubel and Peter Doherty, PhD, thanked McCartney for saying some animal research is "absolutely necessary."

In an interview with BBC Radio 2, McCartney, a high-profile supporter of the animal rights movement and outs-spoken critic of animal research, stated that he had softened his position on the issue after Linda "had to take drugs tested on animals" to treat her breast cancer.

"I'm finding out now that there is quite a lot of animal experimentation-some of it, I suppose, absolutely necessary when you come down to the final tests before people," McCartney said. "If a drug has got to be used on humans then legally it has to be finally tested on an animal."

In their letter, Drs. DeBakey, Hubel and Doherty stated: "Those of use in the medical community were gratified to hear the comments you made recently on BBC radio regarding animal testing . . . We commend you for your willingness to reconsider your stance on this issue, and we hope it encourages other public figures to investigate the complexities of medical research before condemning the role of animal research."

"As you mentioned in your interview, scientists and physicians are morally and legally obligated to establish the safety of all medical treatments before applying them to people," they wrote. "But the importance of animal research goes far beyond safety. Animal studies have been at the root of most medical advances in this century, including the vaccines for polio, insulin to treat diabetes, heart surgery techniques, chemotherapy, organ transplantation, genetic research, and countless other breakthroughs."

"The reason animal research and safety testing remain necessary is that we still have incurable afflictions, like breast cancer. We are making progress, but researchers must rely on every means available to understand these diseases. Physicians and researchers are virtually unanimous in their conviction that animal research is one of those indispensable sources of information . . . We send our condolences for the loss of your very talented, compassionate wife.
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Oct 30, 1998
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