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Lily Tomlin Adds Name To List Opposed To Use Of Dogs In Medical Research At Wayne State

DETROIT (CBS DETROIT ) - Detroit-born actress and comedian Lily Tomlin has added her voice to those opposed to the use of dogs in ongoing medical research at Wayne State University.

2011 Winter TCA Tour - Day 4
Comedian/actress Lily Tomlin speaks during the 'The Best of Laugh-In' panel at the PBS portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour held at the Langham Hotel on January 8, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Calling the research "senseless," Tomlin -- through a letter delivered Wednesday to the office of Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson -- urges the use of dogs in cardiac research be put to an end reports WWJ's Jon Hewett.

In part, Tomlin's statement reads, "I am writing you to speak against the medical experiments that Wayne State University—my alma mater—is practicing on helpless dogs. I understand that Wayne State is spending millions of taxpayer dollars using dogs in heart failure experiments that have not benefited human health in any way. I urge you to end these senseless experiments as soon as possible."

About 60 members and supporters of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine delivered that letter today.

Among those opposed to the practice is Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist affiliated with the University.

"These dogs could have had homes elsewhere, that wouldn't involve this kind of work - so that's been one of the sore points -- these weren't just dogs that were destined to die," said Kahn. "It's had its chance, long ago, to show some benefits and I guess I'd be willing to say it's unethical to continue."

Wayne State Director of Communications, Matt Lockwood, says the university complies with the Animal Welfare Act and that the dogs used in research are treated as humanely as possible.

"Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans and this work is contributing to therapies and cures for that, so it could benefit me, it could benefit you and our loved ones," said Lockwood.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine is the largest single-campus medical school in the nation with more than 1,000 medical students.

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