Sunday, May 04, 2008

The End of Animal Lab Testing? EPA. NIH. The National Toxicology Program.

Could you envision a time when animal testing in laboratories no longer exists? Well, there might be a future to that if all goes well in the development of human cells in test tubes. I don't know if this is already practiced somewhere in the medical world for other purposes, but the Environmental Protecton Agency, the National Toxicology Program and the National Insititute of Health have signed a " Memorandum of Understanding " to developed test methods that could evaluate the safety of newly formed drugs and other substances without trying them on first on animals. This means that the drug companies, or whoever practices animal lab testing, can get their answers by lab work on human tissue rather than injecting the drugs into animals. This development was reported by USA Today in February, 2008. The newspaper reported that " The agencies noted that the public's unease with animal testing, in addition to a growing number of new chemicals and high testing costs, fueled the new collaboration. " Franics Collins, Director of the NIH's National Human Genome Research Insititute was quoted as saying, " It was expensive, time-consuming, used animals in large numbers, and it didn't always worked. "

Currently, the EPA is evaluating 300 chemicals via the new methods whose initial phase should be finished by this year according to Robert Kavlok, Director of the National Center for Computational Toxicology. That's like time warp speed! According to the NIH, it took thirty years for the EPA to rigorously test 2500 potentially toxic compounds.

The New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, from whom I received this report, was quick to point out that this new direction wasn't born from moral reasons but from what anti-vivisection activists have been saying all along---animal experimentation is costly, prolongs medication and procedures from human use, and it does not accurately predict human reaction to the tested drugs.

Let's hope for the best, for the animals.

Here's PETA's campaign against Columbia University's animal cruelty practices: http://www.columbiacruelty.com/default.aspx

2 comments:

AIR said...

I used to be in the business. This was long overdue. This could of been done 15 years ago.

Yes, it is costly. And takes a long time. From inception to market (if the drug passes all phase testing) is 10 years.

Chessbuff said...

Thanks for your input, Air. Ten years, most people don't know that.