Both healthy and diseased tissues donated from human volunteers can provide a more relevant way of studying human biology and disease than animal testing. Companies such as Episkin, Mattek and Cell Systems Gmb H now produce these tests in easy to use kits for companies to use to test their cosmetics and other substances.
Human tissue can also be used after a person has died (e.g. Post-mortem brain tissue has provided important leads to understanding brain regeneration and the effects of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
The ultimate goal is to use these chips to create a whole ‘human-on-a-chip’.
Cell cultures have been central to key developments in areas such as cancers, sepsis, kidney disease and AIDS, and are routinely used in chemical safety testing, vaccine production and drug development. For example, skin and eye models made from reconstituted human skin and other tissues have been developed and are used to replace the cruel rabbit irritation tests.
So far, cells from four different organs have been linked together on one chip to mimic the human body. Reconstituted human skin models can be used to replace the notorious Draize skin irritation tests in rabbits and have proven to be more effective at predicting human reactions. Scientists have even managed to coax cells to grow into 3D structures, such as miniature human organs, which can provide a more realistic way to test new therapies.
Human cells have been used to create innovative little devices called ‘organs-on-chips’.
Thankfully, the development of alternative methods is growing.
Due to innovations in science, animal tests are being replaced in areas such as toxicity testing, neuroscience and drug development. The reasons why animal testing persists are often not scientific.
Animal research, or animal testing, is the use of animals in scientific researches to develop drugs for the life-taking diseases that human beings contract. Animal testing helps producing many vaccines and other drugs, like penicillin, and thus, save many human lives.
On the other hand, animal testing also causes pain and kills a lot of animals used during the researches that many people oppose this practice.