Mengapa Peneliti Selalu Gunakan Tikus Untuk Riset

Tahukah Anda mengapa tikus sering kali digunakan dalam berbagai percobaan medis? Ternyata tikus memiliki peran sangat penting dalam percobaan medis. Mulai dari perumusan obat kanker baru hingga pengujian suplemen makanan, tikus berperan penting dalam keajaiban medis baru.

Bahkan, menurut Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), 95% hewan laboratorium adalah tikus. Ilmuwan dan peneliti bergantung pada tikus karena beberapa alasan. Salah satunya, pengerat ini kecil, mudah disimpan dan dipelihara serta bisa beradaptasi baik dengan lingkungan baru.
Hewan ini berkembang biak dengan cepat dan berumur pendek (2-3 tahun) sehingga beberapa generasi tikus dapat diamati dalam waktu singkat.
Selain itu, tikus relatif murah dan dapat dibeli dalam jumlah besar dari produsen komersial yang mengembang biakkan pengerat khusus untuk penelitian. Umumnya, tikus patuh dan hewan ini mudah ditangani peneliti, meski ada beberapa jenis sulit ditangani.
Sebagian besar tikus percobaan medis hampir identik secara genetis, kecuali jenis kelamin. Menurut National Human Genome Research Institute, hal ini membantu menyeragamkan hasil percobaan medis. Sebagai syarat minimum, tikus memiliki ras sama.
Alasan lain tikus digunakan sebagai model uji medis adalah genetik mereka, karakteristik biologi dan perilakunya sangat mirip manusia, dan banyak gejala kondisi manusia dapat direplikasi pada tikus.
“Tikus merupakan mamalia yang memiliki banyak proses seperti manusia dan bisa digunakan menjawab pertanyaan banyak penelitian,” kata perwakilan National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Welfare Jenny Haliski.
Selama dua dekade terakhir, kesamaan itu makin kuat. Kini, ilmuwan dapat mengembangkan ‘tikus transgenik’ yang membawa gen mirip penyebab penyakit manusia. Tikus juga membuat penelitian efisien karena anatomi, fisiologi dan genetikanya dipahami dengan baik oleh peneliti.
Beberapa tikus SCID (severe combined immune deficiency) secara alami terlahir tanpa sistem kekebalan tubuh dan dapat menjadi model penelitian jaringan normal dan ganas manusia. Berikut contoh gangguan manusia dimana tikus digunakan sebagai modelnya.
Hipertensi, diabetes, katarak, obesitas, kejang, masalah pernapasan, ketulian, parkinson, alzheimer, kanker, cystic fibrosis, HIV dan AIDS, penyakit jantung, muscular dystrophy, cedera kabel spinal.
Tikus juga digunakan untuk pengujian obat anti-kecanduan yang berpotensi mengakhiri kecanduan narkoba.
“Menggunakan hewan penting untuk pemahaman ilmiah sistem biomedis yang mengarah ke obat, terapi dan penyembuhan yang berguna,” kata Haliski.
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