Solving the Diet-Cancer Mystery:
Scientific Studies Provide Clues
Laboratory: In Vivo Studies
In vivo studies put diets to the test in complex living organisms. If cell or tissue studies (in vitro) provide evidence that nutrient X protects against cancer, an in vivo study can give researchers the next clue.
Strengths of In Vivo Studies
Testing diets in animal models allows scientists much stricter control than with humans. Unless they lock you in the lab, you’re probably going to eat those Oreos, but a mouse eats what he’s fed – so researchers know exactly what’s going in and what’s going out.
Weaknesses of In Vivo Studies
Humans aren’t mice. While a surprising number of our biological processes may be similar – especially the cancer process – many things that happen in mice don’t happen the same way in humans, and vice versa.