Non-Animal Research in the News: June 2024

The Rise for Animals Team, July 2, 2024

We believe that the exploitation of animals is unethical and, in turn, we would oppose the use of animals in experimentation regardless of any benefits that such research might realize for people. But it just so happens that science is also on our side.

While the animal research industry continues to breed, buy, cage, torture, and kill sentient beings, progressive scientists are busy proving that human-relevant science is not only possible but, in fact, better for us all. April 2024 highlights in science are below. 

Organ-On-A-Chip Tech Revolutionizes Future Drug Testing

Beijing Institute of Technology Press Co., Ltd., 6/3/2024

“Researchers from Shanghai University and the University of California Los Angeles have made significant strides in the field of in vitro vascularized organ-on-a-chip systems, offering a promising alternative to traditional methods that rely heavily on animal testing and simplistic two-dimensional cell cultures . . . Recent innovations highlighted by the team include various types of organ chips such as those for the liver, brain, and heart, each designed to address specific research questions related to these organs.”

“ . . . these devices hold the promise of reducing the reliance on animal testing, aligning with ethical considerations and potentially accelerating the drug development process. Traditional animal models often do not accurately replicate human disease states or predict human responses to treatments, leading to inefficiencies and high failure rates in drug development. Organ-on-a-chip technologies could provide a more accurate, ethical, and cost-effective solution.”  📰 Full Story → 


Skin Models as an Alternative to Animal Testing

Marie-Luise Righi, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, 6/3/2024

“ . . . TigerShark Science hopes to use skin models grown from human stem cells to significantly reduce animal testing.”

“They have succeeded in culturing a skin model that can represent almost all of the structures present in human skin, making it a realistic skin model.”

“The start-up plans to begin by offering the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries large unit volumes of healthy skin models simulating three layers of the skin–epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis–with fat cells. These models are suitable for applications such as testing medications and their side effects or studying hair growth . . . ‘There have been no skin models of this complexity on the market to date. They’re one of a kind,’….”  📰 Full Story →



Could AI Put an End to Animal Testing?

Christine Ro, 6/5/2024

“One application of AI in this field is simple but said to be proving effective – using it to trawl through all the existing and available global animal testing results to prevent the need for unnecessary new tests.”

“ . . . trained AI systems are beginning to be able to determine a new chemical’s toxicity . . . AI is now involved in every stage of toxicity testing. AI is even being used to create new drugs in the first place.”

‘’ . . . we do know that the use of animals as models for the protection of human health and the environment is outdated science, and hope that ultimately AI can play a part in a transition away from using animals in any test or experiment.’”  📰 Full Story → 


Lung Organoids Unveil Secret: How Pathogens Infect Human Lung Tissue

Katrin Buehler, 6/10/2024

“ . . . Pseudomonas aeruginosa[] [is] a much-feared nosocomial pathogen that causes severe and life-threatening pneumonia…” but “how the pathogen crosses the tissue barrier has remained a mystery until now.”

“‘We have grown human lung microtissues that realistically mimic the infection process inside a patient’s body,’ . . . ‘The lung models enabled us to uncover the pathogen’s infection strategy.’”  📰 Full Story → 


UC San Diego Develops First-in-Kind Protocol for Creating ‘Wired Miniature Brains’

UC San Diego, 6/10/2024

“Researchers worldwide can now create highly realistic brain cortical organoids — essentially miniature artificial brains with functioning neural networks . . . The new technique . . . paves the way for scientists to perform more advanced research regarding autism, schizophrenia and other neurological disorders in which the brain’s structure is usually typical, but electrical activity is altered.”

“The newly detailed method allows for the creation of tiny replicas of the human brain so realistic that they rival ‘the complexity of the fetal brain’s neural network,’….”

“Such ‘mini-brains’ can be used to test potentially therapeutic drugs and even gene therapies before patient use, as well as to screen for efficacy and side effects . . . Other research possibilities for the brain organoids include disease modeling, understanding human consciousness and additional space-based experiments.”  📰 Full Story →


Lab-Grown ‘Mini-Guts’ Could Help in Developments of New and More Personalized Treatments for Crohn’s Disease

University of Cambridge, 6/10/2024

“Cambridge scientists have grown ‘mini-guts’ in the lab to help understand Crohn’s disease, showing that ‘switches’ that modify DNA in gut cells play an important role in the disease and how it presents in patients.”

“The researchers say these mini-guts could in future be used to identify the best treatment for an individual patient, allowing for more precise and personalized treatments.”

‘’The number of cases of Crohn’s disease and IBD are rising dramatically worldwide, particularly among younger children, but despite decades of research, no one knows what causes it. Part of the problem is that it’s been difficult to model the disease. We’ve had to rely mainly on studies in mice, but these are limited in what they can tell us about the disease in people.’”  📰 Full Story →


AI Model May Yield Better Outcomes for Prostate Cancer

University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences, 6/11/2024

“By using AI to assist with cancer contouring, the researchers found predicting the cancer size was 45 more accurate and consistent….”

“‘Accurately determining the extent of prostate cancer is crucial for treatment planning….”

“The new AI system, developed by researchers at UCLA and Avenda Health, has already shown to better define the margins of prostate cancer than MRI….”  📰 Full Story →


With Placenta-On-A-Chip, Researchers Hope to Gauge How Drugs and Toxins Impact Pregnancy 

Deborah Balthazar, 6/13/2024

“The placenta-on-a-chip, as it’s refined in the coming years, could be used to answer research questions and determine the impact of drugs and toxins during pregnancy . . . ‘It’s a game-changer for pregnancy studies,’….”  📰 Full Story →


Scientists Reveal Their First Sign of Autism: ‘Key Discovery’ 

Pandora Dewan, 6/18/2024

“Scientists have made a breakthrough in our understanding of how autism develops in the womb. The findings offer new insights into why some children develop more severe symptoms than others and could lead to the development of future treatments for managing symptoms.”

“ . . . scientists from the University of California San Diego used lab-grown mini brains to identify differences in brain development during the first few weeks of pregnancy between children with autism and neurotypical controls.”

“On average, the mini brains grown from children with autism were roughly 40 percent larger than those of the neurotypical children, suggesting that this unusually large brain growth during the first trimester of pregnancy may act as one of the earliest signs of autism in a developing embryo.”  📰 Full Story →


Mini Liver Model Innovations Promise More Effective Drug Testing

King’s College London, 6/20/2024

“A laboratory-grown mini liver model uniquely created with liver cells and a synthetic nanoscaffold has shown to be effective in mimicking the liver, promising a new and more effective testing method for medicines that is more ethical than animal testing” and “offers a promising alternative to animal models for preclinical drug screening and toxicity testing.”

“By addressing the ethical and practical [sic] of animal models, including physiological differences, associated high costs and limited tissue availability, this innovative approach shows great potential as a more accurate and ethical alternative.”  📰 Full Story →


New Organoid Culture Method Can Verify Human Toxicity of Nanomaterials 

National Research Council of Science and Technology, 6/24/2024

“The Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) has developed the world’s first organoid culture method capable of accurately assessing human toxicity of nanomaterials. Overcoming the limitations of the conventional culture method, this new technology is expected to bring forward the commercialization of organoid-based safety assessment of nanomaterials and nanomedicine.”  📰 Full Story →


Spinal Cord Organoids to Study Treatments for Paraplegia 

Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), 6/25/2024

“‘We have developed a 3D platform where we grow spinal cord organoids and promote a certain organisation for the organoid to mature. Once we have them, we create a contusive injury that mimics the type of damage suffered by paraplegic patients,’….”

“Thanks to this platform, the research team will be able to study how neural cells behave in this organoid and seek new therapeutic strategies to improve the understanding of spinal cord injury and the development of therapeutic interventions using organoids.”  📰 Full Story →


First Ever “Mini-Brains” With Cells From 5 People Show How Drugs Affect Us Differently

Laura Simmons, 6/28/2024

“In a world first, scientists have grown 3D brain organoids using cells from more than one person. Called ‘Chimeroids’, the intricate systems contain cells from up to five people; but future versions could push this into the hundreds, allowing scientists to create models that capture the wealth of human genetic diversity.”

“A Chimeroid . . . captures more of the diversity that exists within the human species” and “an important use could be in researching how different people react to a particular drug.”  📰 Full Story →

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