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PCRM’s Cruelty-Free Insulin Assay Now Available to Researchers

Petri dishA growing number of scientists around the world are developing humane alternatives to the use of animals in medical research, education, and testing in response to concerns about animal cruelty and a growing realization that non-animal methods are often more effective. PCRM scientists are in the forefront of this group.

Last year, PCRM developed the world’s first cruelty-free insulin assay, a test used to measure insulin levels in diabetes patients. The test is now available on the international market through Linco Research, Inc., a leading manufacturer of diagnostic kits.

This is PCRM’s first foray into research and development of humane alternatives to the use of animals in medicine and research, a growing area of activity in the scientific community. The announcement comes just weeks after European Union officials and industry groups issued a joint declaration to reduce animal testing.

The test kit is manufactured without the use of fetal calf serum, a slaughterhouse byproduct, and without incubating antibody-producing cells in the abdomens of live mice, a practice banned in several European countries but still legal in the United States. The assay is expected to sell particularly well in Europe where laboratories are concerned about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) being transmitted in animal serum.

Megha Even, M.S., one of the PCRM researchers who helped develop the kit, presented it at the Fifth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Berlin and at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology this year. As Even says, “A little bit of thought and effort can do a lot to reduce some of the cruelty involved in medical testing. Non-animal methods not only alleviate animal suffering; they also also bring us more effective medical practice.”



 

PCRM Online, November 2005

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