Animal research has provided important information about many aspects of the pathophysiology of human disease. Well-performed animal studies can determine the potential benefit of many proposed therapeutic interventions, and experimental results from animal studies have served as the basis for many landmark clinical trials. Many animal research models are described in the research literature, and choosing the appropriate model to answer a research question can be a daunting task. Even more challenging is developing a new model when none of the existing systems are relevant to the proposed question. This article was prepared by members of the SAEM Research Committee to provide an overview of animal modeling. Important considerations in choosing, applying, and developing animal research models are outlined. Practical discussions of potential problems with animal models are also provided.
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