After 40 plus years, it’s time for World Week for Animals in Laboratories to take on new meaning in the 21st Century, when science and technology are booming with methods to replace animals and growing daily.
Developing alternatives to animals is dependent upon scientists who care and want to make the shift. One of the technologies we report on today came about because one scientist wanted to see change.
Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski at the University of Sydney, Australia felt compelled to develop alternatives after he sensed the suffering and distress of animals in the laboratory. Rather than accepting that such experiments are a sad reality, he decided there had to be a better way.
Dr. Chrzanowski focused on nano-bioengineering, to create advanced organoid models of human lungs, developing mini lungs that have features other models are lacking, like movement of fluid through the cells. His recent paper even includes instructions on how to create these models, to encourage other scientists can use them.
Each week CAARE writes to every scientist whose cruelty-free research we feature in these newsletters and on our social media, to thank them for their work to end animal research. We want them to know that their work is noticed and appreciated, and we thank them for pursuing ethical science.
Lung organoids could replace animal testing and boost success in clinical trials
An international team of researchers led by the University of Sydney are using lung organoids to replace animal trials in drug and disease research.
The 3D mini-lungs are made from human cells and mimic real human organs. In this study they created two types of lung organoids; one that mimics healthy lungs to replace phase 1 clinical trials and one that mimics phase 2 clinical trials, or diseased lungs.
This allowed researchers to study therapeutics for obstructive pulmonary disease more quickly, cost-effectively and accurately than if they had used animal studies. In fact, senior author Dr. Wojciech Chrzanowski, said, "This work is significant because we will be able to reduce the number of animals in medical research and accelerate the discovery of new drugs or innovative strategies to treat diseases.”
“We are entering an era of replacing animal research and we are going to see rapid acceleration of that. People, governments, pharmaceutical companies, are realising the need to invest in this.”
Menthol cigarettes cause more lung damage than regular cigarettes, study finds
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine developed a ‘vaping robot’ to explore the impact of adding menthol to e-cigarettes on the lungs without resorting to cruel and inapplicable animal experiments.
The ‘vaping robot’ mimics the human respiratory system and scientists designed the experiment to simulate the temperature, humidity, and inhalation of a person smoking an e-cigarette. Using lung-chip technology to analyze the effects, they found that the e-cigarettes with added menthol resulted in greater levels of toxic nanoparticles as compared with non-menthol vaping.
The animal-free vaping robot demonstrates that scientists can obtain valuable physiological insights into human vaping without forcing animals to ingest toxic levels of vapors, who are then killed at the end of the study.
Study Sheds Light on How Cancer Spreads in the Brain
Treating brain cancer is difficult because standard cancer treatments are ineffective or unable to cross the blood-brain barrier. Gaining greater insight into how cancer spreads in the brain can help scientists develop treatments for brain cancer.
To learn more, scientists at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center grew breast cancer cells in two microfluidic chips and were able to simulate the cancer migration into the brain. They discovered that Dkk-1, a cytokine, results in cancer cells migrating. They theorize that reducing levels of Dkk-1 near tumors could prevent cancer spread.
Such insights are possible through innovative human-relevant methods such as culturing human tissue rather than conducting experiments on animals that are inadequate models for human health and disease.
Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research & Experiments (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals.
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