http://www.care2. com/causes/ animal-welfare/ blog/scientists-
make-breakthroug h-that-could- stop-animal- testing/
Researchers have made a major breakthrough in their mission to use a
chip in lieu of testing on animals.
It would end the needless
testing of cosmetic chemicals on female mice; a test known as a local
lymph node assay. In fact, just one use could save the lives of 25
animals. But the motivating factor behind this--unfortunately --is not
"One important benefit in moving away from animal
testing is the cost savings," says Robert Freedman, Hurel's chief
Testing on small animals can run as high as
$1,000 an animal. These chips would be far less expensive. Plus, there'd
be fewer dead animals. I'm a fan of that.
Political pressure is
also key. Europe plans to fully ban the sale of any cosmetics that were
tested on animals
It's hard to tell exactly how many animals are used
in skin allergy tests as rodents are not covered under the
U.S. Animal Welfare Act.
But it's estimated 10,000 animals are killed every year for such tests.
When animals are tested for an allergy, dendritic cells from the
skin migrate to the lymph node. This creates an allergic reaction
resulting in T cells. Those conducting the test then look for an outward
allergic reaction, such as irritation.
So far, the researchers
have developed the working microfluid part of the chip. But cells will
need to be cultured to create an artificial lymph node. The lymph node
will then be connected to artificial skin via the newly developed
microfluid. Researchers would then be able to monitor the resulting T
The researchers hope to have a fully functional prototype
by 2011, far before the 2013 deadline.