Drug tests on lab animals fail men

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

The six Britons who were the subjects of a disastrous test of a new "wonder drug" last year still suffer from its life-threatening side effects.

One, a 30-year-old man, "has definite early signs of a lymphoid malignancy developing," said UK immunologist Richard Powell.

The new drug was being developed as a treatment for leukaemia, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis by a German company, TeGenero.

The volunteer test subjects had been reassured by the researchers that the drug had been tested on animals in doses far larger than they were to be given - and had proved to be completely safe.

But, within minutes, the human guinea pigs were convulsing violently and in agony.

Raste Khan, 23, sai d: "First they began tearing their shirts off, then some screamed that their head was going to explode."

The tragic consequences of the TGN1412 trials shattered the confidence of many researchers in the reliability and trustworthiness of tests of drugs, intended for humans, on laboratory animals.