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Chris Austin explains how robots could soon replace animals in toxicology testing

RATE THIS! +18
Posted in Science on 6th Mar, 2014 02:57 AM by AlexMuller

In the future, robots might replace animal testing in screening for environmental toxins. We do believe that over the course of the next five to ten years that this approach will refine, reduce, and ultimately replace the number of animals that are used in toxicology testing.

 
Chris Austin is director of the Chemical Genomics Center for the National Institutes of Health. Austin explained how animals are now used to test some toxins, such as household cleaning products, pesticides and herbicides.
 
That process is slow, it’s expensive, it is not necessarily predicative of human toxicity, and it’s become increasingly discouraged by the public.
 
He said the new method grows cells on small trays. Each tray may have over 1,500 different chambers, each chamber holding just a few cells to be tested. Robots working 24/7 quickly handle and process the information, which translates to whether a chemical might be harmful to a human being.
 
So we’re talking about the same number of chemicals that have been tested over the last 20 to 30 years, being tested now in a single day. Austin said the new process works, and should be widely used in the next few years. That’s good news for those who feel for the plight of animals that undergo testing.

Tags: animalstestingpharmaceuticalstoxicityrobots

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-06
+1
The automation and use of cell culture for testing toxins is most welcome! It remains to be established how predictive such tests will be for human toxicity Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-06
+2
There have been many plans in the US and Europe about revolutionizing toxicology testing for the 21st century - there are many ideas and moving away from animal testing is a good goal
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-06
+2
There have been difficulties - and as researchers state these difficulties are "not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones" Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-06
+1
Some believe that the key is the shift in toxicology testing away from animal and single-cell studies, toward a systematic approach centered on validation and pathway analyses. This requires robots to get sufficient data Reply
Reply


 

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