The present progress in technology from AI aiding drug discoveries and more to machines doing the impossible in 3D printing, experts now eye how close we are to replacing various laboratory testing that uses precious animals.
Amidst the recent COVID-19 health crises, there have been conversations around the possibility of a vaccine to the rescue.
Well, whether we have a vaccine or not, many people like tennis’ world number one wouldn’t want to be forced to take a vaccine and even those who won’t mind would hardly volunteer to try one first.
This is just telling on why we need to rethink medicine testing for the future.
Unfortunately, we don’t seek the consent of the guinea pigs before we use them in tests.
The good side though is that since centuries past humans had cared about humane ways to treat animals.
In the last 20 years, expert’s movement for redesigning testing of medical and cosmetic products so that there will be no need to stress or kill animals in the process of testing drugs and other products improved.
Below are 5 technologies that will help to replace various animal tests;
Organ-Chips and Human Emulation System
This novel idea is a step from the present reality that animal tests do not guarantee that there will be no problems in human trials.
Emulate Inc. has come up with organ-chips and a Human Emulation System that allows scientists to see body reactions in real-time.
The Organ-Chip is a “living micro-engineered environment” that promises to outperform the common cell culture or animal-based experimental tests.
Emulate Inc. is presently working on patient-on-a-chip which will use an individual’s cells in the organ-chip, thereby making it virtually like having a copy of the patient on a chip. This way, medications will be tailored to what will work for an individual.
3D Bio-Printing Technology
Thanks to 3D bioprinting technology, we can now print human skin in the laboratory.
This could extend to printing other organs when the technology matures but presently, this takes pharmaceutical skin tests to a new level that has already saved animals. To tell how good it is, Madrid scientists said the skin is fit for transplant to patients.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The application of AI technology plus the molecular understanding of how drugs are made to fit disease conditions has already aided recent drug discoveries.
AI will be vital as a combination with technologies to eliminate the need for animal tests as it will aid in finding patterns that would be hard for humans to spot easily.
Precision medicine is a new concept in medicine that takes into account the individual’s genetic uniqueness in administering treatments or preventing diseases.
Recent medical advances point to the possibility that this will gain more popularity in the coming years. The human emulation system we saw earlier is an example, with others to follow.
In the future, patients may have the option to choose between customized drugs with high confidence of working for them or the generally accepted medications in critical healthcare decisions.
Volumetric absorptive Micro-sampling technology (VAMS)
This technology has allowed plenty of analysis to be done on a small sample of blood, thus eliminating the need to draw so much blood from animals.
This technology has been widely successful and according to findings, it has reduced “animal usage in preclinical trials by up to sevenfold.”
The technologies we have so far have reduced the use of and the suffering of animals in tests and possible deaths too.
Going from here, the good thing is we may not be too far away from finally making animal tests relegated to the past.