The new tests use cell cultures rather than animals to establish the toxicity of cancer drugs and identify contaminated drugs. The tests approved today will not only reduce the number of animals needed for testing, but will also increase the accuracy of the tests, thereby making the products concerned safer. The role of ECVAM, which is based at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, is to replace, refine and reduce methods of animal testing for cosmetics, drugs and chemicals. Tests validated by ECVAM must be approved by its Scientific Advisory Committee, composed of representatives of the 25 member states, academia, industry and animal welfare organizations before they can be used in labs across Europe.
One of the tests is designed to assist the dosage of some highly toxic drugs used in chemotherapy for cancer, a disease which causes almost a million deaths in the EU every year. Using bone marrow culture from mice and cord blood cells from humans, a test has been developed that will decrease the risk of a lethal overdose in the first cohort of patients to which they are administered, a risk that cannot be identified during current preclinical testing strategies.
International studies have shown that this new test can provide more accurate predictions than testing on animals, so the new method will not only reduce the number of animals needed, but also increase the safety of patients.
Five of the new tests address the issue of bacteria. Our immune system is designed to guard us against bacteria. However it cannot distinguish between live and dead bacteria, and will react also against dead bacteria or part of them. A drug may be sterilised, but not necessarily free from all traces of bacteria and this can lead to side-effects such as fever, pain and shock. 200,000 rabbits are used every year to test the drugs before they are put on the market. The new method uses human immune cells grown in the laboratory, which can detect bacteria just as the human immune system does. This test will not only reduce the number of animals used in labs, but also the costs of testing. An added bonus is that these new tests are far more effective in finding contaminated drugs than the previous animal tests.
The work of ECVAM is funded from the EU’s Research Framework Programme, with support from Member States, industry and animal welfare organisations. By using advances in scientific knowledge, ECVAM will help to increase patient safety and animal welfare.
A conference in Brussels on 7 November 2005 entitled “Europe goes alternative” saw the adoption of a European Partnership with industry to promote alternative approaches to animal testing.
Berta Duane | alfa
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine