Ethical medical research/Alternatives to animal testing
Non-animal testing techniques for medical purposes are efficient and far advanced. Alternatives to animal testing make use of medical imaging, microdosing, metabolism simulation, biochips, mathematics, visualizations and other methods. These advanced techniques give great insight, otherwise not offered by use of animal testing. The human mind is capable of solving problems related to medicine. If humans are able to determine the chemical composition of distant galaxies, imagine the potential for non-invasive technology to model tissue interactions.
This type of research is also cost effective, while improving speed and quality towards research.
The way and redundancy in which animal testing is carried undermines the capability for human innovation. Animal testing also desensitizes participants, and it influences the idea of the lack of value for life, which further reduces the quality of this type of research. Research from animal experimentation is limited, since animals do not have "all the same maladies as do humans."
9 out of 10 medications that qualify expectations for animal testing fail human trials.
Included in this resource is personal research, which is medical training.
Optical: medical imaging and microscopy
- External multimedia: Microdosing
Medical imaging can give great details of the inner workings of the human body. This method is far more efficient than animal dissections for determining effects on living tissue. Dyes that can cross the brain-blood barrier can be used to improve medical imaging for human observations, and dyes can be used for in vitro observations as well.
Microdosing uses medical imaging to see how the body metabolizes miniscule drug amounts. This is an example of an in situ human observation. In situ is taking observations without harm to an organism while it is alive.
Magnetic resonance imaging
Common magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines have resolution ranges in millimeters. Experimental MRI resolution has been improved to detect images on the micrometer scale. A 10 nanometer resolution MRI technology is in conception that could be fitted to existing MRI machines.
Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is being developed and standardized for use in advanced biological sensing. It appears to have unprecedented detail of living tissue, displayed on a hyperspectral image projector. Hyperspectral imaging already has uses in astronomy, mineralogy, physics, agriculture, surveillance, environment, chemistry and other sciences.
Nanosensors are able to detect cellular activity, with the aid of dyes. Cultured cells are grown in a laboratory, then nontoxic dyes display to nanosensors the metabolic activity of the cells. When a chemical is toxic to the cell, the metabolic activity of the cell reduces or halts, sometimes as the cell dies.
Medical ultrasonography can image in real time, but at a lower resolution than other imaging techniques. It is completely safe.
Organ on a chip is a biochip layered with organ-specific tissue. Medication safety and interactions can be tested on it. Using biochips are less costly and less time extensive than animal testing. Another added benefit of using biochips, is that less training is required for use of this approach. Biochips are an example of in vitro laboratory testing.
There is a new technology that allows for cells to be suspended in air. A nontoxic magnetic filament is placed inside the cells to allow them to levitate, and this is useful for improving toxicity testing on cells.
Another recently developed technology uses a different type of biochip to separate microscopic organisms or cells based on size. Centrifugal force is generated by lasers to separate particles by size. This has uses for: "medical diagnostics; testing food, water and contaminated soil; isolating DNA for gene sequencing; crime-scene forensics; and pharmaceutical manufacturing."
Biosensors and electronics
Information can be relayed to a microchip from magnetic sensing that detects biological reactions. Thousands of sensors can be placed on a small area to detect microscopic reactions. Uses include drug testing, protein interactions, and cancer detection. It is capable of sensing on a smaller scale than was possible before.
In papyro is an experiment done on paper, which in this case is by math.
Math can be used to find out which peptides, by attachment, will be effective against viruses. Math use reduces the vast amount of peptides that would have to be tested. From here, the peptides could be further engineered. This is speculated for use with other types of microorganisms.
Mutation patterns by bacteria can be documented, then formulated. Future mutations can be calculated using these formulas. Other disease patterns, for instance leukemia activity, can also be charted, for timing of medication treatments.
The brain of a mouse has been simulated on a computer at a reduced speed and scale, and there is future potential for this technique. Simulating viruses and their interactions with other organisms has been done before. This is considering the simplicity of viruses, compared to complex organisms, makes them easier to simulate. Protein interactions of larger organisms can also be practically simulated.
Helmet design based on head injury susceptibility, physics and function can be improved using computer simulation. Simulations can be done comparing injuries without helmets to helmets and their modifications.
The use of test mannequins can help students practice crucial skills before performing medical procedures on real patients. Mannequins that simulate real conditions are highly effective and efficient at teaching, and they are a standard at medical schools.
- See also: Medical diagnosis/Lab-on-a-chip
Sample analysis can be of urine, swiping, fine-needle aspiration, blood or other sample. Spectrochemical analysis is one way of determining the metabolites or other chemical medium through light frequency analysis. Direct analysis can also be made of, chemical reaction, pH, specific gravity, or other measure.
3,000 chemicals can now be detected in urine, from the previous quantity of 100 chemicals, and this number is expected to grow continuously. Medical conditions, drug use and nutrition can now be better analyzed and diagnosed through urinalysis. This improvement in urinalysis may allow it to replace many other body fluid analysis methods.
Using existing resources
By using existing known safe ingredients, testing is usually unnecessary for many products.
Status and progress
90% of 1,000 biomedical researchers surveyed in 2011, believed animal research was a necessity.
As of 2013, animal testing for cosmetic products has been banned in the European Union,  India, and Israel. The sale of cosmetic and toiletry products tested on animals has also been banned in the E.U. Over 1,000 companies worldwide have banned using animal testing in their products. In Japan, replacements for cornea testing have recently made an advancement that may replace animal testing there.
A gallup poll of 1,000 random Americans was taken in 2013 for opinions of animal medical testing, and it manifested an estimate of increasing disapproval ratings. 41% of adults, including 53% of women, and a majority of younger adults believed medical testing on animals to be morally wrong according to this poll. These figures are a significant increase from 2001 data. A separate nationwide poll in the United States in 2013 showed about a 70% strong disapproval of conducting cosmetic testing on animals.
In 2014, São Paulo state in Brazil banned animal testing for cosmetic and personal care products. As of March 2014, H.R.4148 - Humane Cosmetics Act was introduced to U.S congress which proposes the restriction of ingredients tested on animals in cosmetic products in the United States. The definition of cosmetic by the FDA for the United States' purpose only is "(1) articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, and (2) articles intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that such term shall not include soap." Also in March 2014, the End Cruel Cosmetics Bill was proposed to Australia's Parliament. China plans to remove mandatory animal testing requirements for cosmetics in June 2014.
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