Though animal research has helped to develop drugs and vaccines to control and cure many infectious diseases, many surgical procedures were and continue to be developed through the use of animal models. Organ transplantation, open heart surgery, and many other common procedures were developed using animal models.
Animal research was essential in developing many life-saving surgical procedures once thought impossible. Heart valve replacement is now a common procedure, and development of these artificial heart valves as well as the artificial hearts now being tested in people would not have been possible without animal research. Organ transplants and coronary artery bypasses require that blood vessels be sewn together. The technique of sewing blood vessels together was developed through surgeries on dogs and cats by Alexis Carrel, for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1912. Research on laboratory animals also led to the understanding of organ rejection and how to overcome it.