Target: Researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy
Goal: Applaud work toward replacing animal testing with more humane methods.
Many researchers in Europe have been working toward finding alternatives to animal testing. Cruelty Free International and the Dr. Hadwen Trust suggest that anywhere from 82 to 154 million vertebrate animals are used for testing around the world. This needs to change. Not only is it cruel to animals, but it is also impractical.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that “…nine out of ten experimental drugs fail in clinical studies because we cannot accurately predict how they will behave in people based on laboratory and animal studies.” One of the new experimental devices that might replace animal testing involves something called a microreactor, which uses cultured liver cells instead of dead animal organs. While the process is still not perfect, it is a great step in the right direction.
The results of experiments show that the microreactor works as planned. It is able to keep cultured liver cells–the liver being the most important organ in the body for processing toxins–alive for up to a month and accurately records their responses to different level of toxicity.
Animal cells, in non-animal-friendly tests, are only able to be used for a short period of time at the end of the process. The next step to their studies would be combining different types of cells in the microreactor, much in the way a real liver would be made up of different type of cells, in order to stimulate different metabolic processes for more accurate real-world results.
Sign the petition below to show your appreciation for the researchers of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy.
I wanted to thank you for your efforts toward finding more humane toxicity testing methods than by using animal subjects. Using a microreactor is not only morally more sound, it is also more practical. You have more control over the cells that you are studying and it doesn’t result in as much needless suffering. Your work in this area is the perfect combination of ideals and real-world application.
Too many animals are used in medical testing. We don’t even have the full statistics from many countries because they refuse transparency. Obviously not every animal is treated horribly during medical tests, but the the suffering we do know about is not negligible. The sooner we can move away from such a model, the better.
Thank you again for your efforts and please continue to refine the process.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Janet Stephens