Rabbits and hares are lagomorphs. Rabbits are often used in research into respiratory disease such as asthma. Cystic fibrosis - a genetic lung disease - has been investigated using rabbits in addition to mice. At present, researchers are assessing whether gene replacement therapy could prevent cystic fibrosis in newborn rabbits, which could have a huge impact on therapies for patients with the condition. Rabbits are commonly used to produce antibodies and in safety testing.
Medical researchers are indebted to the Watanabe rabbit - a breed that suffers from a rare genetic defect causing fatally high levels of blood cholesterol. A similar gene defect in children causes cholesterol levels between three and seven times higher than normal, usually leading to death before their teens. Watanabe rabbits have been used in the development of an artificial liver to remove excess cholesterol from the blood of these children, and are proving crucial in the search for better treatments. [all rabbits: 14,833]
See AnimalResearch.info on rabbits