A new book: The Rise and Fall of Animal Experimentation: Empathy, Science and the Future of Research, by Richard J. Miller, PhD, discusses the role of animal experimentation in history and the current evidence that compels a shift away from cruel and flawed animal testing towards novel, human-based alternatives.
As the title implies, animal experimentation is unsustainable, and must necessarily decline in the face of burgeoning new technologies that can more adequately study human physiology.
One of these methods, organoids, is being used in new research that brings unprecedented insights to treating a rare gastrointestinal disorder through patient biopsies to create precision models. Other exciting news comes out of biotech company Frontier Bio, which has developed a 3D bioprinted blood vessel model that can test vascular medical devices without using animals.
We are standing on the precipice of a new era in animal-free science, and yet hundreds of millions of animals are still dying in laboratories around the world. Our voices are very much needed to advance an end to using animals for experiments.
New book: The Rise and Fall of Animal Experimentation
Dr. Richard J Miller, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at Northwestern University, is the author of the new book: The Rise and Fall of Animal Experimentation, examining the evolution of animal history from ancient times to the present. From there he details the current technologies that are rendering animal research obsolete, including stem cell biology, gene sequencing, and live imaging. These innovations are rapidly increasing and have created a revolution in the biomedical research sector, one that involves more ethical, faster, cheaper, and effective therapies.
The book lays out how vast genetic and physiological differences between humans and other animals make animal testing notoriously inaccurate when applied to humans. In countless circumstances, drugs that were deemed safe from animal tests proved toxic and fatal in humans.
Dr. Miller also penned a recent editorial, pointing out that with the passage of the FDA Modernization Act, scientists and pharmaceutical companies now have the option of testing drugs for efficacy and safety without animals.
“The use of animals is now behind the curve;" says Dr. Miller, "it’s unnecessary and can be replaced by studies based on genuine human tissues.”
Human mini guts reveal new insights into the process leading to Cronkhite-Canada syndrome and potential new therapies
Organoids are a promising alternative to cruel animal studies that also provide more accurate and human-relevant data, resulting in better outcomes for diseases and health conditions.
Yet another example of this is from a new study at Baylor College of Medicine. Researchers created human intestinal organoids, called mini guts, from biopsy samples from patients with Cronkhite-Canada syndrome, a rare condition resulting in non-cancerous polyps in the intestines in addition to a myriad of other symptoms.
Scientists saw that the patient-derived mini guts were highly proliferative. They had an excessive amount of enteroendocrine cells which were producing high amounts of serotonin. These characteristics were then confirmed in the actual patient biopsies. Serotonin inhibitors already exist and it is possible that they may be repurposed to treat this rare condition.
Frontier Bio’s Lab-Grown Blood Vessel Tech Is Powered by 3D Printing
Biotech startup Frontier Bio is advancing non-animal research through its lab-grown blood vessel model.
In conjunction with 3D printing technology, they have been able to engineer and grow blood vessels in the lab that replicate human blood vessels, including complex vascular structures. These can then be used to test vascular medical devices instead of cruelly experimenting on animals as the lab-grown blood vessels more accurately mimic natural and disease-related conditions in humans. Researchers have already confirmed the accuracy of the technique and hope that it will contribute to ending animal experiments.
The recent passage of the FDA Modernization Act is encouraging more non-animal innovation. Sam Pashneh-Tala, Head of Vascular Tissue Engineering at Frontier Bio, states “With the recent FDA Modernization Act 2.0, the regulations for animal alternatives in developing medical devices and drugs are becoming less of a barrier.”
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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