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Laser Guided: Artificial Human Tissue On A Chip Could Replace Animal Testing – The Florida Star

Animal testing could slowly be replaced with experiments using artificial tissue thanks to groundbreaking work using lasers done by the Vienna Technical University (TU Wien).

The idea behind the research was the creation of artificial organs in a procedure known as delivering an “organ on a chip” or “human on a chip.”

During the procedure tissue parts are created which then interact with each other.

They are placed on a chip of a few centimeters in size and can be supplied with very specific nutrients or also with pharmaceutical compounds in a highly precise manner.

In this way, important information can be gathered about the effect of drugs without having to resort to animal testing.

In addition, researchers can therefore work with human cells, which makes the results much more meaningful as one of the biggest criticisms of animal experimentation is that they are simply not human, and that reduces the validity of any test results.

The TU Wien technology works when the hydrogel surrounding the cells is enriched with very special molecules that can then be activated with a laser beam. The hydrogel then becomes softer and more permeable at precisely these points, so it is possible to determine exactly where the cells should move.

The new technique is particularly interesting for pharmaceutical research without animal testing. With this laser method, special tissue systems can be produced in a reproducible way, which can then be examined under precisely controlled conditions on a chip, for example, to test new drugs.

A Scientist looks at cells through a fluorescent microscope at the laboratories at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on December 9, 2014 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/Cancer Research UK)

Professor Aleksandr Ovsianikov, head of the 3D Printing and Biofabrication research group at TU Wien, said: “When making tissue constructs in the lab, you often start with living cells embedded in a hydrogel.”

Hydrogel is a biocompatible material, with properties very similar to those of biological tissue.

Ovsianikov said it is: “Comparable to a gummy bear soaked with water.”

The cells can migrate through the hydrogel and form a tissue. However, it would be desirable to be able to control this process and have the cells adhere to a predetermined blueprint.

In the research group for 3D printing and biofabrication, however, very special molecules have now been added to the hydrogel.

Normally, they do not change the behavior of the hydrogel, but when they are activated with a laser at a specific location, the hydrogel becomes softer and more permeable at precisely this point.

Simon Sayer of TU Wien added: “The molecule couples to the network of the hydrogel, at this point the network becomes more hydrophilic. This changes the physical properties, and in this way it is possible to create a 3D pattern through which the cells can pass more easily than elsewhere.”

Chamber tissue is viewed on a microscope at the Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery June 08, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

That way, the laser beam was used to predetermine certain paths in the hydrogel – and indeed the cells migrated exactly along exactly these paths. In this way, star-shaped or lattice-shaped cell structures could be produced.

For the time being, the focus of this research is not necessarily on the creation of artificial organs, but on a technology that is often called “organ on a chip” or “human on a chip”: Tissue parts are created, which then interact with each other.

Tommaso Zandrini, also of TU Wien said: “But this only works if we can precisely control the properties of these tissues.”

“Firstly, these experiments need to be reproducible, so you want several tissue samples with exactly the same microstructure, and secondly, you also need to be able to precisely connect the different samples – for example, if you’re studying the interaction between a small piece of heart muscle tissue and a small piece of liver tissue.”

To understand the interaction accurately, structures such as blood vessels need to be in exactly the right place. This is now possible with this new laser method. The complexity of customized tissue samples can therefore be drastically increased.

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Drug Discoveries Without Animal Testing

Animal testing is an old debate in the research community. There are both scientific and ethical arguments to reduce the reliance on animal testing. Technological advancements, like organ-on-a-chip (OOC), may hold the key to replacing animal testing. OOCs can model organ functions and companies are looking for ways to incorporate the technology into drug testing. How well used is OOC technology in drug discovery today and can a tiny chip really encapsulate an incredibly complex system like organ/human? Let’s find out.

Only one out of ten drugs reaching clinical trials makes it to the market. Drugs that fail during clinical trials do so because the results generated during drug discovery and development fail to predict drug efficacy or toxicity in humans. Unfortunately, traditional in vitro culture techniques and animal models are poor predictors of human biology. Drug discovery scientists have therefore turned to humanised technologies, such as OOCs to help cross-validate and supplement data from traditional methodologies to improve the translatability of data between lab and the clinic and therefore increase medicines discovery success rates. A related area of high potential for OOCs is the testing of new drug modalities, such as cell or gene therapies, which rely on human-specific modes of action rendering animal models unsuitable for use.

The global organ-on-chip market was valued at $103.44 million in 2020, and is projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 31.1 per cent from 2021 to 2030, according to Allied Market Research.

Pharmaceutical firms are currently evaluating the applications of OOC in various phases of drug discovery. In May 2022, Columbia Engineering team demonstrated the first multi-organ chip made of engineered human tissues linked by vascular flow for improved modelling of systemic diseases like cancer.

In February 2022, data from preclinical studies using the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (pioneer of this technology) Human Alveolus Chip were included in Cantex Pharmaceuticals’ Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the US FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) to initiate Phase 2 clinical trials for a drug it licensed from Harvard University to treat COVID-19.

In 2021, airway Lung-Chip developed by the Wyss Institute demonstrated that the drug amodiaquine (antimalarial drug) reduced SARS-CoV-2 infection by about 70 per cent for COVID-19 and prevented transmission of the virus in roughly 90 per cent of animals.

OOCs models have also been used in disease modelling, compound screening and target identification. For example, in 2020, scientists from Roche reported a human retinal microvascular tubule-on-a-chip designed to mimic the blood–retina barrier, which can be disrupted in diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

 

Adoption of organ chips in drug discovery

OOCs have been around for just over a decade. In the last five years, pharma companies have been accelerating adoption of OOC technology throughout drug discovery workflows, from early target identification to late preclinical stages to facilitate more informed decisions.

“In the last few years we have seen increasing adoption of Organ-on-a-Chip technology within drug development pipelines, likely because researchers are recognising the need for better, more human-relevant preclinical models. Unlike conventional cell culture and animal models, organ-chips enable researchers to closely observe the effects of candidate compounds on human cells in an environment that closely resembles in vivo tissues. As the pace and scale of research using organ-chips continues to grow, the value of organ-chips is becoming increasingly clear,” said Dr Lorna Ewart, Chief Scientific Officer, Emulate, US.

Wyss Institute researchers launched Emulate, Inc. in 2014 to further develop and commercialise organ chip technology, bringing these important research tools to market.

Alongside the growing list of practical applications, the US FDA has even put forth the FDA Modernization Act of 2021, which calls for the use of alternative testing methods to animal testing to investigate the safety and effectiveness of a drug.

The US FDA has also partnered with organ chip developers like Emulate and CN Bio to develop industry standards and best practices for using organ chips in drug development.

“Acceptance of OOCs technology and its incorporation into preclinical workflows has been assisted by regulators, such as the US FDA, who recognise its potential. In a recent FDA publication, the advantages of CN Bio’s PhysioMimix in drug safety and metabolism applications were demonstrated over standard techniques and following on from this success, the FDA has chosen to continue working together with CN Bio and the PhysioMimix OOC system, broadening the scope of their research plan to include evaluating lung-on-a-chip for inhaled drug applications. With interactions between organ chips developers and the regulators becoming more prevalent, these types of communications send a reinforcing message to the pharmaceutical sector supporting OOC use, helping to open doors and remove adoption barriers,” said Dr Yassen Abbas, Lead Scientist, CN Bio, UK based leading organ chips developer that designs and manufactures single- and multi-organ chips.

As with any new technology, there is a need for standardisation, i.e., benchmarking against appropriate reference elements to ensure the robustness, reliability and reproducibility of data.

 

Can a chip really mimic an organ?

Can an incredibly complex system like organs/humans, ever be modelled in enough detail for results to be considered absolutely accurate?

“Absolute accuracy can never be achieved as these systems will never be as complex as a human organism. Having said that, we believe that it can be very accurate when the context of use is defined. It will even be possible to generate clinical trial like data in the preclinical stages of drug discovery using organ chips,” said Dr Reyk Horland, CEO at TissUse GmbH, a Germany-based firm which has developed a unique “multi-organ-chip” platform that provides unparalleled preclinical insight on a systemic level using human tissues.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Abbas said, “An in vitro model of human biology can never truly be perfect. OOCs technology aims to provide significant advances in human relevance to improve data translatability over standard techniques. OOC models mimic a well-defined phenotype and function of human organs and can be interlinked where appropriate into multi-organ systems that recapitulate processes such as drug absorption and metabolism, or to understand interactions between organs, such as inflammation, which drive disease and cause unexpected toxicities. ‘’

Most of the organ chips developers have made single organ chips of liver, lung, gut, kidney, heart, brain etc. Multi organ chips are rare, recently Columbia University has developed the world’s first model of human physiology in the form of a multi-organ chip.

“We are optimistic that as adoption and research into this technology grows, organ chips will eventually become the primary model for predicting human response with regards to safety and efficacy in drug development pipelines everywhere. While no model will ever be absolutely perfect, organ chips far outperform currently used models like animals,” said Dr Ewart.

Looking forward, the future of OOC is bright. The technology is becoming more sophisticated at modelling human biology and it won’t be long before it provides a viable alternative to animal testing.

 

Ayesha Siddiqui

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U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace and Buddy Carter Secure House Passage of Legislation to End Animal Testing Mandates at FDA – Music Industry Today


U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace and Buddy Carter Secure House Passage of Legislation to End Animal Testing Mandates at FDA – Music Industry Today – EIN Presswire

























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Animal-Testing Calls Threaten to Derail ‘Cruelty-Free’ Cosmetics

A legal tussle over animal testing in Europe is threatening to jeopardize what has become a key marketing tool for cosmetics companies: selling their shampoos and skin creams as “cruelty free.”

The European Union banned animal testing for cosmetics in 2013, a move that was cheered by activists and sparked a string of copycat legislation elsewhere. But the European Court of Justice is now considering a case in which the EU’s chemicals regulator asked a manufacturer to conduct animal tests on two cosmetics ingredients to address concerns about worker safety.

At the heart of the matter is a clash between the cosmetics law, which focuses on consumer safety, and chemicals regulations that aim to protect workers and the environment.

While the ECJ’s ruling—which could come as soon as this year—will only apply in Europe, it has global consequences for some cosmetics makers. That is because cruelty-free certification from animal-rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals requires brands to ensure their ingredients and final products aren’t tested on animals anywhere in the world.

In response, Dove and TRESemmé owner

Unilever

PLC, which has PETA cruelty-free certification for 31 brands, is working with animal-rights organizations to lobby European lawmakers to retain the cosmetics-testing ban. It says science has advanced enough to obviate the need for animal testing.

A Unilever facility in the U.K. The company is working with animal-rights organizations to lobby European lawmakers to retain the cosmetics-testing ban.

“We do not need to do animal testing to ensure that our products and ingredients are safe,” said Julia Fentem, Unilever’s head of safety and environmental assurance.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Are governments taking the right steps to ban animal testing? Join the conversation below.

Body Shop owner Natura & Co. and

Procter & Gamble Co.

are among other companies that have spoken out against the European Chemicals Agency’s decision to require animal testing on some cosmetics ingredients, saying it could harm thousands of rats, rabbits and other animals.

The regulator, commonly referred to as ECHA, says it is looking out for workers who—unlike consumers—are sometimes in direct contact with chemicals for long periods and in large volumes.

“The way workers get in touch with the chemical is very different,” said Mike Rasenberg, the agency’s director for hazard assessment. ECHA says it has asked for extra tests on a handful of chemicals beyond the two involved in the case at the ECJ.

A researcher analyzing samples from a human cell culture at Unilever. Typically, human cell cultures are used in non-animal tests to measure any potential toxic effects.

Mr. Rasenberg said ECHA supports reducing animal testing but that the entire system for managing chemical risks and corresponding safety measures is currently based on animal studies. Where animal tests can easily be replaced, they have been, he said.

One commonly used alternative is observing how chemicals affect human corneas created from lab-cultured cells rather than putting chemicals into the eyes of rabbits.

For assessing long-term hazards, including organ damage, weakening of the immune system and birth defects, the regulator says animal tests are often essential.

Unilever’s Ms. Fentem said animal testing won’t ensure worker safety because it produces results that aren’t sufficiently relevant to humans.

In the U.S., several states ban animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients. There isn’t a federal ban, although the Environmental Protection Agency has said it plans to phase out testing of chemicals in mammals by 2035.

The EPA and Unilever said last year they would work together on a project to determine how well non-animal methods could detect the risks posed by a minimum of 40 chemicals, building on previous joint research.

Anna Lowit, senior science adviser in the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, said there are still only a small number of approved in-vitro tests to replace many animal studies. In assessing whether certain chemicals can cause cancer, alternatives aren’t advanced enough to replace animal tests, she added.

Unilever says science has advanced enough to obviate the need for animal testing. A lab at the company’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre.

For Unilever, the business case for not testing on animals is clear. It says alternatives are quicker and that surveys of consumers across several key markets show most don’t want to buy cosmetics associated with animal testing.

A string of consumer-goods makers now make cruelty-free claims. Unilever’s PETA-certified brands include Dove, Suave, TRESemmé, Simple and St. Ives. P&G has 12 and

L’Oréal

has five, according to PETA.

Unilever’s efforts come as the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is working to overhaul its broader chemicals regulation to ensure safety, a move the company says could further jeopardize the existing ban specific to animal testing for cosmetics.

A scientist checking human cells. Unilever has PETA cruelty-free certification for 31 brands.

The commission’s proposed revisions to the regulations include asking for routine information on how chemicals might interfere with the body’s hormones, data that is currently only requested on a case-by-case basis. That change could lead to millions more tests on animals for chemicals already used in the EU, according to Cruelty Free International, a nonprofit.

The commission said it is committed to reducing animal testing to assess risks posed by chemicals but that there are still some areas in which alternatives can’t provide a comparable level of information and protection.

Unilever helped create and publicize a petition that—should it reach one million signatures by late August—would require the European Parliament to hear the ideas it contains and possibly adopt a resolution based on them.

In the petition, Unilever, the Body Shop and several nonprofits have asked the commission to change laws so that consumers, workers and the environment are protected from all cosmetics ingredients without testing on animals; pledge not to add additional animal-testing requirements to assess chemical safety; and outline a plan to phase out all animal testing in the EU.

Corrections & Amplifications
Unilever has PETA cruelty-free certification for 31 brands. A previous version of this article incorrectly said it had certification for 31 products. (Corrected on June 1)

Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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House Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Food and Drug Act, Including Provision to Lift Federal Animal Testing Mandate – Music Industry Today


House Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Food and Drug Act, Including Provision to Lift Federal Animal Testing Mandate – Music Industry Today – EIN Presswire

























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New Study Findings Could Reduce Animal Testing In The Medical Field

The findings of a new study could reduce animal testing in the medical field.

Together, researchers from the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Inotiv Inc., and the Consumer Product Safety Commission produced a new method for screening skin allergens.

The researchers examined 92 chemicals. Seventy-seven percent of the results “agreed with those of a common animal test method.” According to NIST, the new effective method is not just more ethical than animal testing, but “potentially cheaper and faster” too.

Published in the journal Toxics, the researchers hope their method will become standardized. This will therefore reduce the number of animals used in science.

The need for animal testing alternatives

Research into animal-free testing methods in the medical field is vital. More than 50 million animals are used in experiments in the US, says the Humane Society. These include mice, monkeys, dogs, pigs, rats, sheep, cows, and frogs.

The nonprofit says: “There is no limit to the extent of pain and suffering that can be inflicted during experiments.”

“In some instances, animals are not given anything to relieve their pain or distress during or after the experiment on the basis that it could affect the experiment.”

But, as research into alternatives advances, change could be on the horizon. In 2020, University of Dundee researchers grew skin in a lab in a bid to reduce animal testing. 

One of the researchers, Dr. Michael Coneely, told the Times that animal tests are often not even 100 percent reliable. He said that animals serve as “good analogs to study general principles.” But added that “they often fail when it comes to specific details due to animal/human species differences.”

He continued: “Upwards of 90 percent of drugs that are proven safe and effective in animals fail during clinical trials.”

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Stop Cruel, Deadly, and Unreliable Animal Testing

Defenseless puppies, cats, rabbits, and other animals endure excruciatingly brutal tests, often without any painkillers, while force-fed or injected with toxic chemicals and deadly diseases in cosmetic and pharmaceutical research.

When the tests are over, surviving victims are “recycled” to endure more cruel tests or are mercilessly killed — often by being gassed, decapitated, shot, or electrocuted to death.

Some of these horrifying tests — including for human medicine — are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), despite more than 90 percent of drugs that pass preclinical tests on animals failing in human tests and not proceeding to the market.

Animals are not reliable models of human biology, and animal experimentation is unreliable and a waste of innocent lives and taxpayer dollars. Drugs take an average of 10 to 12 years to go from concept to drug store shelves and cost an average $2 billion to develop.

Human-specific testing methods are cheaper, more reliable, and more effective than the currently mandated animal-based tests. It’s time to end this unnecessary cruelty once and for all.

Sign this petition urging the USDA, FDA, and National Institutes of Health to take the necessary steps to end cruel and unreliable animal testing in favor of human biology based testing methods, and so save countless animal and human lives.

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Reps. Buddy Carter and Nancy Mace Pass FDA Modernization Act through House Committee to Lift Animal Testing Mandates – Music Industry Today


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Today on SAN TV, How Years of PETA Protests Have Made Changes for Animals, Eli Lilly CEO Caught Lying About an Animal Experiments & Jesse & Joy: Cats and Dogs Are Family—Take Care of Them! #FurFreeEurope

Videos Teasing Animals Are Not Funny

If you come across a social media post or video showing animals being teased, speak out: Leave feedback and help inform others about why these things are harmful. Learn what to say now. Watch this PETA video to learn why it’s wrong to create, “like,” or share videos of animals being teased on social media. Videos in which animals are teased are harmful. PETA explains what to do when you see a video on social media that shows animals being scared, shamed, or humiliated. Today at SAN TV!

Former dog slaughterhouse owner condemns horrible trade

In 2020, we went out for what would become one of our most haunting missions ever: We closed down a slaughterhouse in 🇰🇭 Cambodia in which 3,000 dogs were being killed every year. Before we were able to shut it down, we had taken multiple trips to arrange the closure. During these visits, we got a first-hand experience of the absolute horrors that were taking place inside. Dogs that had to watch others being killed in front of their eyes, awaiting their turn to be next. But we were not the only ones traumatized by the experience. From our first conversation, we knew how badly the owners wanted to get out. The reason they had stuck with it for such a long time was the need to provide for their families. We will never forget the moment they were able to shut down their former business for good, with tears of joy (and remorse) dripping from their eyes. More than a year later, we paid a visit to them and as you can see, they are still haunted by their former actions. One thing is extremely important to us: We kindly ask you all to treat this woman, who has the courage to speak up, with respect and acknowledge her will to leave this horrible trade for good. Today at SAN TV!

A mission across borders Good news, we will double our help for animals in Ukrainian zoos and deliver another 20 tons of food! The transport is done in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Railways @ÖBB. The train will depart from Austria on Friday. It will take up to a week until it will arrive at the Kyiv Zoo, from where the food will be distributed to six other Ukrainian zoos. Missions like this are full of uncertainty, and we will do everything we can to make sure that the food is delivered to these desperate animals. Please support missions like this for animals in Ukraine. Today, they need us more than ever and we won’t let them down. https://bit.ly/UkraineFourPaws Today at SAN TV!

#FurFreeEurope: It’s Time to End Fur Farming in Europe

It’s time to close fur farms for good! As you are watching this, the fur industry continues to operate its business. Millions of innocent animals live locked up in tiny cages. BUT, we see a chance to ban fur farming NOW! Join the Fur Free Movement and sign the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) https://bit.ly/FurFreeEurope . Once an initiative has reached 1 million validated signatures, the European Commission must respond and take action❗ We have one year to collect those signatures. Are you in? We need you, your family and friends. Together for a #FurFreeEurope! Today at SAN TV!