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ARCHIVE - Tell NIH Animals Don't Smoke

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Elias Zerhouni, M.D., Director
National Institutes of Health

Building 1, Shannon Bldg RM 126
1 Center Drive, MSC 0148; Bethesda, MD 20892-0148
ph: 301-496-2433; fax: 301-402-2700

Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D.
Deputy Director: Office of Extramural Research

1 Center Drive, MSC 0152 (Room 144); Bethesda, MD 20892-0152
ph: 301-496-1096; fax: 301-402-3469

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Dear Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Bravo,

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards some $16.5 million in grants for nicotine experiments on animals. This figure covers research in fetal and newborn animals. The total price tag for nicotine animal studies is much higher. Please end this wasteful use of tax dollars now.

I urge NIH to invest in education, prevention and smoking cessation. Please address the exclusively human behaviors behind nicotine addiction rather than squander money on animal experiments.

We already know smoking harms fetuses and promotes cancer of the lungs, larynx, tongue, salivary glands, pharynx, and esophagus. We understand its link to coronary heart disease, strokes, and pulmonary illness. We recognize smoking is very addictive in humans.

Animals acquire nicotine intravenously. Humans inhale it. Animals get mass doses in brief intervals, while people use small amounts over long periods.

Nonetheless, Eliot Spindel of Oregon Health and Science University receives millions to dose pregnant monkeys with nicotine via pumps surgically embedded in their backs. Babies are excised during different developmental phases so experimenters can dissect their lungs. Since 1992, Spindel has failed to produce data that can't be gleaned from human clinical studies. Yet NIH intends to subsidize his experiments through 2012.

At Texas A&M University, rats ingest formula laced with nicotine, at the equivalent rate of 60 cigarettes a day. Experimenter Ursula Winzer- Serhan then decapitates the animals to analyze their brains. Kent Pinkerton of the University of California, Davis, confines pregnant rhesus monkeys in smoking chambers for six-hour inhalation sessions, five days a week. At ten weeks, their infants die by lethal injection and their lungs are dissected.

Our tax dollars should not pay for duplicative experiments that don't apply to the human condition. Yale University's Marina Picciotto has collected over $15 million since 1996 to inject nicotine into the abdomens of mice and rats. Sometimes she pours nicotine into holes carved in the animals' skulls. Picciotto has even dangled mice by their tails from paper clips to observe nicotine's influence on anxiety and depression.

Experimenters cannot replicate complex human drug addictions in species with physiological, cellular, genetic and psychological attributes vastly different than our own. Please redirect funds from old-fashioned animal experiments to clinical and epidemiological studies, education/prevention, and smoking termination programs.

Thank you,
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In Defense of Animals
Help Make Nicotine Experiments on Animals Go 'Up in Smoke'

LEFT: This monkey was used in an experiment in which pregnant females are injected with nicotine in order to observe its effects on their fetuses' lungs. PETA. RIGHT: Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) experimenter Eliot Spindel has been killing infant monkeys (like Thimble, pictured here) in nicotine studies for 24 years. IDA
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