I am one of those people who finds animal testing abhorrent. There is no need for it, in my view. I’ve always felt that there should be alternatives and that animal testing for our benefit cannot be justified. There are many people like me. It is the height of arrogance to think that animals should be tested to destruction for our benefit.
Today, it is reported that an alternative to animal testing is reaching the final stages of development. Miniature versions of human organs that promise to reduce animal testing won the Design Museum’s top award last night. The “organ-on-a-chip” devices, which contain human cells, are designed to mimic lung, kidney, gut, bone marrow and other tissues.
They were developed by scientists at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and allow researchers to test drugs in conditions close to those found in the human body, at a fraction of the cost of live trials. The report fails to add that also it saves the lives of many animals and stops them being put through miserable conditions before being destroyed.
The scientists, Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh, are working on ships that mimic other tissues as they seek to create the equivalent of a working human body in miniature form.
The “chip organs” are built with the aid of microchip technology. They’re able to mimic a breathing human lung. On one side of a porous membrane are lung cells and above them is an air channel. On the other side of the membrane are capillary blood vessels and the blood channel.
Air is passed through the air channel while blood is passed through the blood channel and the walls are made to stretch and relax as if they are part of a breathing lungs. In addition, bacteria are added to replicate an infection within the lung and a drug is added to then fight it. This enables scientists to observe the effects under a microscope.
At last, we are seeing viable alternatives thanks to technology to the inhumane use and abuse, and at the end of the day killing, of animals in animal testing laboratories. This is most welcome to people like me. We must remember that the domestic cat is not uncommonly used in animal testing laboratories hence the relevance of this article.
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