Non animal technology the future is amazing, and animal-free. #vivisection #animal rights
NON ANIMAL TECHNOLOGY - the future is amazing, andanimal-free. Technology is more valuable than animal tests If we didn’t have animal testing, medical progress would stop. We would have no idea which medications were effective and which were dangerous until humans took them. This is claimed by people who don‟t understand animal experiments, and people who support them for financial reasons. The reality is that the technology available is incredible and enables achievements that few would have believed possible. An excellent film on non-animal technology was made by doctors group Safer Medicines. This is available to view online and comes very highly recommended. You may also like to see our news page on medical progress. Frustration at the slow pace at which technology is adopted has been voiced by medical professionals. The concept that animal testing is neccesary is gaining more challenges in the media, such as here. Anotherarticle explains the neccesity of developing and using human-centred technology, as the animal methods are not predictive. * Computer modelling * Cell culture * Microdosing * Proteomics * Brain research Computer modelling Imagine that you try a drug on a mouse and it dies of a heart attack. You then have to ask:
* Did the drug actually cause the heart attack?* What actually happened?* Would it be the same in humans?Computer models of the human heart are now in use. They enableus to watch the heart beat in 3D from all angles, and show reactionto a drug being used. You can then replay in slow motion what mayhappen and see what happened and why. The heart can developillnesses and react to drugs, and since 2001 it has been used toidentify dangerous drugs. (NewScientistTech. 2551 13 May 2006)Other organs have been modelled too, and now there are evenentire virtual humans. Yorkshire-based company Simcyp isproducing software which predicts the effect of drugs, and accountsfor the patients‟ age, sex and height. A speciality is enablingpredictions of drug effects in babies and children, a problematicarea. (New Technology Detects Risks Of Drugs To HeartSooner.Yorkshire Today, 2006)Another key player is Physiomics, who claim they can help identifyoptimum dose levels, particularly for cancer drugs, accurately. Thecomputer simulation it owns, SystemCell, uses biology and scientificdata to simulate the way drugs will work in the body. (The DailyTelegraph. 19 August 2004)The virtual heart has to be seen to be believed. An onlinevideo is available here.
Cell culture The concept behind cell culture is simple, but the degree to whichit has evolved is incredible. In 1996 the techniques available thenwere evaluated alongside animal tests, and the cell culture oneswere found to be more accurate. (Clemedson C, McFarlane-AbdullaE, Andersson M, et al. MEIC Evaluation of Acute Systemic Toxicity.ATLA 1996;24:273-311) Since then, cell culture use has expanded. The American NationalCancer Institute (NCI) has developed a screening project to identifycancer drugs using only cell culture methods. NCI explainsthat “This project is designed to screen up to 20,000compounds per year for potential anticancer activity. Theoperation of this screen utlilizes 60 different human
tumorcell lines, representing leukaemia, melanoma, andcancers of the lung, colon, brain, ovary, breast, prostate andkidney.”(http://dtp.nco.nih.gov/branches/btb/ivclsp.html)Previously, drug screening has been in animals. A textbookconcludes that:"despite 25 years of intensive research andpositive results in animal models, not a single anti-tumourdrug emerged from this work." (JCW Salen, Animal Models-Principles and Problems in Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science1994)June 2010 - news item on cell culture -click here.Dec 2010 - cell culture dug trials of cancer drugs are quicker andmore effective than animal tests - read more here.March 2011 - The damage of Parkinsons Disease can now beobserved in a cell culture - read more here.June 2011 - As a doctor explains, animal tests are inferior than anyof the technological technology tests. click here.June 2011 - Experts are building a computer-based genetic model inwhich colon cancer treatment will be tsted on a personal level.Click here.November 2011 - Micro lungs built from lung and liver cells willenable more accurate testing. Read morehere.February 2012 - Nanosensers enable testing of chemicals. Readmore here.February 2012 - Swansea University search for bettermethods. Read more here.May 2012 - Analytical chemistry replaces mice in Food Standardstest. Read more here.June 2012 - China approves a non animal technique for cosmeticsingredients. Read more here.July 2012 - $70 million project to develop organ on a chiptechnology.Read more here.Skin and eye safety Skin testing has long been a common use for animals, althoughvarious cell culture tests exist. EpiDerm uses human skin cells andis accepted as accurate, while Epipack uses sheets of cloned humanskin cells. The Human Keratinocyte Bioassay enables a computer to
measure damage to the epithelial cells, which cover the skin andeyes. Corrositex detects skin damage using a membrane and achemical detection fluid, and gives results in 4 hours – comparedwith 4 weeks for animal tests. (www.mbresearch.com)Eye damage can be assessed usingMatTekEpiOcular (see thediagram below). Since 1985 this model has been using human cellsto evaluate eye irritancy. Valuable as this is, the test is not isolatedand other models are being developed.(www.mbresearch.com 31/12/2006)Interestingly, the SkinEthic and MakTekcellmodels were approvedby European regulators which means the much discredited Draizerabbit test is officially obsolete.New applications are always emerging - such as ToxcastAnother is InLiveTox, an artificial liver and gut.Tox21 was discussed in August 2010 as a much more reliable andfantastically more speedy method than animal testing to revealdrug safety and efficiency.Another area is biochips. An Artery-on-a-chip has been developed, which is a microfluidic platform on which fragile blood vessels canbe fixed, allowing the factors that promote and sustaincardiovascular diseases to be studied.Healthy babiesTeratology – or the study of the cause of birth defects is an areawhere animal tests are clearly inferior to other available methods(Biogenic Amines Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 97–145 (2005)) (see our page
on this - LINK). The Embryonic Cell Test (EST) is a highly accuratetest, and the Micromass (MM) test is proven particularly effectivefor chemicals causing specific forms of damage to the growingembryo, emphasizing the value of cell culture tests in this area too.(Biogenic Amines Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 97–145 (2005)) Their conclusionsshow that the dilemma is not between animal tests and cell culture,but a decision between cell culture and humanexperience: “virtually every substance or dietary deficiencycurrently recognized as being teratogenic in humans wasinitially identified as a result of case reports and clinicalseries”. (Polifka, J. E. and Friedman, J. M. (1999). Clinicalteratology: identifying teratogenic risks in humans).The microdose Microdosing is so incredible it sounds like science fiction. In realityit is the incisive use of technology to safely study medications in theideal model – a human patient.It involves tiny doses of a test medication being given to a patient,who is then scanned in detail using sensitive imaging equipment.This helps to accurately identify the route of the drug, and the
organs or other tissues that it affects. The appeal of the techniqueis safe because the doses involved are so tiny (typically about 1%of clinical levels) that damage will not be caused. The techniqueenables the drug to be tested in an intact living system withoutresorting to use of a different species.The method works by „labelling‟ the drug using a carbon isotype,which enables it to be traced. The conversion of the drug into othermolecules can then be measured, and the length of time they stayin the system can be assessed.Does it work?Concerns were made that low dose drugs would behave differentfrom the full dose. To counter, an independent test was invitedby Xceleron, a pioneer of the technique formed from YorkUniversity. Drugs known to have unusual characteristics thatanimal testing failed to detect were examined using microdosing.An accuracy rate of 70% was achieved when results were comparedwith full-dose studies.Considering that animal studies typically achieve lower accuracyrates, and that this test was for drugs known to harbouridiosyncrasies, the success is remarkable. The American drugregulator FDA has now said it will accept microdose data.Evidence that the technique can work at doses even lower than 1%was revealed by American group Radiant Research, who re-evaluated HIV drug AZT at one millionth (0.0001%) of its usualdose. More than 72 hours after administering the drug they wereable to evaluate concentrations in blood, saliva, urine,DNA and white blood cells. The accuracy is stunning: an expertexplained "we can say with confidence that between 30 minand 45 minutes after dosing, 0.09% of the oral dose residedwithin the white blood cells in the blood. We were also ableto show uptake of AZT into the genetic material of thesecells, which is ultimately how antivirals like AZT inhibit viralreplication. Such data could not have been obtained by anyother method".The technique is possible thanks to Accelerator Mass Spectrometry
technology, coupled with PET scans to see where the drug travels inthe body. AMS is so incredibly sensitive that it enables analysis atlevels previously impossible. Thanks to microdose technology,drug research will never be the same.European regulators have concluded that the technique will “makehuman clinical studies safer”; until now they have relied largelyon animal studies. They could also save money. An industrypublication stated that it“…should allow better choices to bemade in drug development, focusing resources on drugcandidates that are more likely to succeed and killing earlythose compounds that will sap resources and waste time.”Personalised medicineMicrodosing could also develop the area of personalised medicine.Some drugs may be safe or effective in many patients, but uselessor damaging in others. People have died due to unexpectedreaction caused by otherwise safe medical drugs."The individual response to drugs can vary tremendously",says an expert. "Some of this behaviour can be explainedthrough metabolic signatures in the individual. AcceleratorTechnology enables such profiling."Microdosing promises not only to make existing processes safer andmore accurate, but also to unlock areas of medicine we onlydreamed of in the recent past.June 2011 - This article in a leading medical journal details thecalls for routine personalised medicine.December 2011 - This article explains how personalised medicinecan revolutionise cancer treatment.December 2011 - The Mayo Clinic (USA) is developing a landmarkproject to advance this form of study.ProteomicsThe cells of life
Test on an animal and immediately you‟re faced with thecomplexities of an intricate living system, and identifying the effecton different organs is unfeasible. It is now more obvious thatdisease works on at the level of individual cells, so understandingthe different cell types is essential.This is leading to the rise of proteomics. This exciting area ofscience studies the activity of proteins in the cells: how, in thenormal cell function, proteins function and are regulated - and whathappens to cause illness. The proteome is defined as theconstellation of the proteins in a cell. The arrangement of them andwhich ones are present is a matter which has massiveconsequences for health. This is because proteins build most cellstructures and perform most of the functions which are needed forlife to function healthily. “Proteins are central to ourunderstanding of cellular function and disease processes andwithout a concerted effort in proteomics the fruits ofgenomics will go unrealised. The necessity of proteomicscannot be avoided” - says an expert in the field.(www.xensei.com/users/chi/2001/hpr/hpr_pressrelease.htm)Catalogue the proteomePlans to catalogue proteins have started in a similar way to thehuman genome project. Just as genes and their roles areunderstood far better thanks to study of the human genome, plansto investigate the human body‟s proteins are underway. Thebenefits of proteomics are likely to be in complex diseases likecancer, and those of the cardiovascular system. Already advances
have been made; a protein called HER3 has been studied and thethree-dimensional structure in now known. Before this, it wasalmost impossible to predict how drugs will bind to the protein, butexperts now predict they will be able to prevent or treat specificcancer types by targeting HER3. (John Hopkins Medical institutionsPress Release Aug 6th 2002 “Structure of key receptor unlocked;Related proteins will fall like dominoes”)Hopes were raised in the area of HIV treatment when it wasdiscovered that a gene prevents HIV from reproducing, but isblocked by a single protein. This could lead to a whole new type ofHIV treatments. (Thomas Jefferson University Information Release8th July 2002 “Discovery may lead to new HIV drugs, says Jeffersonvirologist”)There are big plans for proteomics -read more here. “With so many pre-clinical systems that are much more reliablethan animal research now available, the only reason I can see touse animal experiments is this: there is need to think when doingsuch experiments. Killing animals is so much more congenial thanthinking for some „scientists‟ that animal research remainspopular.” (Irwin D Bross, PhD, former Director of Biostatics at theRoswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research)Brain researchTechnology in the modern laboratoryfMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) This techniqueidentifies the role of different areas of the brain. It does this bydetecting higher and lower magnetic susceptibilities in the blood,which indicate whether the blood is newly oxygenated or not. Realtime scans are possible which aid treatments such as surgery andare of great value as a diagnostic tool.
See this for more or this for a British University applying thetechnique. MagnetoEncephaloGraphy (or MEG) detects the magnetic fieldsassociated with brain activity without using X-rays. It sends nosignals into the brain so is entirely safe. It enables a functionalimage of the brain to be shown. This helps show what activity thebrain is undertaking, and where in the brain this comes from. Ithelps show where problems (eg epilepsy or migraine) is comingfrom.
See this link for a UK university working at the forefront of thistechnology. Or see this work at Aston University and theseprojects there for some of the valuable work now being conductedin humans.EIT (Electrical Impedance Tomography), is mobile and cheap. Itregisters electrical resistance in disease-affected areas. The mainbenefit is therefore to trace the movement of blood and other fluids.Developments will hopefully lead to this being a cheap, portablemethod of imaging the brain in full 3-D detail.See this link for the detailed interpretation of info from EIT,and thisfor more applications.SPECT (Single Photon-Emission Computed Tomography) enablesdoctors to build 3D images of the brain by detecting details aboutthe flow of blood. This shows brain function and is vital for detectionof illnesses. This is done by radioactive labelling blood.See more here and here.Powerful new microscopes and other technologies make studies ofactual human tissue very valuable to serious researchers, whilemaking animal research obsolete.SPECT scan showing details of a patients stroke.
PET (Positron emission tomography) scans detect radiation frompositrons, and enable a detailed picture of the illness to beconstructed. This is vital for patients with brain dysfunction forwhich the cause has not been determined.See more here OR here.
MRS (Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy) Enables chemical analysisof the brain without surgery, by distinguishing the chemical natureof the part of the brain being scanned. This is done by detecting themagnetic resonance in that part of the brain and analysing the datathis shows.Read more here or here.EROS Uses lasers which can pass through the skull, to image thebrain. They are fired from dozens of different directions at once,and the technique measures differences in the way they reflect. Thedifferences are caused by the fluid in the brain cells, and reveal vitalinformation about the condition of the different parts of the brain.
TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation) stimulates or calms partsof the brain using magnetic impulses. Higher frequencies stimulate,lower ones calm. This enables doctors to calm brain areas andassess the affect on symptoms, therefore identifying brain areaslinked with specific illnesses. Long-term imbalances in the brain canbe identified.
See more here, here or here.Without autopsies, the progress in neurology would be almost nonexistent. This method has focused on real patients and the realnature of their brains, and full records of their condition have beencompared with the findings. As microscopes become more powerful,the method becomes more effective.Studies have shown that the same areas in different animal andhuman brains play different roles as well: damage to thecorresponding parts of monkey and human brains has been showndo cause different symptoms. (Reymond in Comparative PrimateBiology (vol 4): Neurosciences, by H. S Steklis and J. Erwin, 1988,p605. Dr Hepp-Reymond in Comparative Primate Biology (vol 4):Neurosciences, ed by H. S. Steklis and J. Erwin, 1988 p605)In the early 1800s the speech centres of the brain were locatedthrough autopsies and observing patients – work which would havebeen impossible through vivisection as animals lack the samespeech process more obviously than they lack otherprocesses.(Neurology 1981;31:600-02)Research into human brain function is only really possible throughstudying humans – either in life or at post mortem. As a recognisedneurologist explains:“The study of the brain, if it is to bear fruit, must be made onman, i.e. at the bedside and in the post-mortem theatre;
…The utmost that can be learned from experiments on thebrains of animals is the topography of the animal’s brain,and it must still remain for the science of human anatomyand clinical investigation to enlighten us in regard…of ourown species; and in fact, it is from the department of clinicalinvestigation and post-mortem study that so far all of ourbest brain localizations have been secured.” (Jean MartinCharcot, Quoted in „Clinical Medical Discoveries‟, Bayly, B, NAVSLondon, 1961, p27)