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Better drug testing without animals

Better drug testing without animals
Ella Tan
  • On March 31, 2015

It’s a relief that so many countries have banned animal testing for cosmetics, but animals are still being sacrificed in the name of science.  In order to save or extend human lives, the ones-with-no-voice suffer untold cruelty. For people against animal testing, stem cell technology might be the answer. For starters, a heart-on-a-chip device has been developed.



With the large numbers of people in developed countries suffering from heart disease, many animals are used to test heart-related drugs. Of the US$5 billion on average to develop a drug, 60% goes to research and development making the end product very expensive but the potential profit enormous. And making breeding animals for lab research very lucrative. In countries where animals are used for tests, labs get them from both breeders and pounds.

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“Bioengineers at UC Berkeley recently announced the development of a device that could make animal drug testing obsolete. The “heart-on-a-chip” device uses stem cell technology to create human heart tissue using 3D printers. The heart tissue is then implanted into an inch long silicone device which acts as a perfect replica of the human heart, making animal testing for drugs a thing of the past.

”Using a well-designed model of a human organ could significantly cut the cost and time of bringing a new drug to market,” said lead Berkeley researcher Kevin Healy.


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