The Future Is Here for Nonanimal Toxicology
Organs on chips and virtual embryos are the future of chemical toxicity testing. In October, scientists gathered for the Second Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology to discuss these and other emerging tools that are replacing animal testing and improving human health.
“The Future Is Here: Practical Applications of Emerging Scientific Tools,” was well-attended by new and established members of the ASCCT, which was formed by the Physicians Committee and the Institute for In Vitro Sciences in 2010 to promote nonanimal toxicological testing methods in the pharmaceutical, chemical, pesticide, and consumer product sectors.
“When a group of scientists representing interests as diverse as Dow Chemical Company, Harvard University, and the Environmental Protection Agency agree that nonanimal toxicology testing is the future, it’s time to invest in and explore those technologies,” says Kristie Sullivan, director of regulatory testing issues for the Physicians Committee. “These new methods better protect human health while putting an end to cruel tests that kill countless animals each year.”
“Human Organs on Chips as Replacements for Animal Testing,” the keynote address given by Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., of the Wyss Institute at Harvard, kicked off the meeting, which featured a dozen lectures and poster presentations on making toxicology a more human-relevant science. The chips, which are about the size of a quarter, are made from living human tissues and model human organs such as the lung, liver, and heart.
Other topics included methods to replace live animals in eye irritation tests and computer-based virtual embryos that show how chemical exposures might affect developing embryos.
Learn more about ASCCT at ASCCTox.org.