Tag Archives: animal testing

3D-printed human cells could “replace animal testing”

3D-printed human cells could replace the need for animal testing of new drugs within five years, according to a pioneering bio-printing expert at the 3D Printshow in London, which opens today.

“It lends itself strongly to replace animal testing,” said Bioengineering PhD student Alan Faulkner-Jones of Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. “If it gets to be as accurate as it should be, there would be no need to test on animals.”

Faulkner-Jones spoke to Dezeen while demonstrating the technology at the3D Printshow in London this week as part of the 3D Printshow Hospital, a feature designed to showcase medical uses of 3D printing.

Using a bio-printer made from a hacked MakerBot printer, Faulkner-Jones is demonstrating how human stem cells can be successfully printed to create micro-tissues and micro-organs that can be used to test drugs.

The technology could be ready to replace animal testing within five years, he believes. “The micro-tissues I think would be in the order of five years away hopefully, if we carry on at the pace we are now,” he said. “You could even test personalised drugs. So you’d be able to use cells of the person that is ill and create specific micro-tissues that would replicate their response, rather than the response of a generic human.

Image of animal testing courtesy of Shutterstock.

Here’s an edited transcript of the interview with Faulkner-Jones:

Marcus Fairs: Tell us who you are and what this project is all about.

Alan Faulkner-Jones: I’m Alan Faulkner Jones from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and we’re working on this bio-printer to produce small human micro-tissues for drug testing and drug production to replace animal testing.

Marcus Fairs: There’s been a lot of talk about 3D printing of human tissue. How much further forward does this project take the story?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: This is a major breakthrough in the fact that we did more testing than has ever been done before on the exact physiological response of the stem cells to the printing process. A lot of people have tried to do it before and have just checked whether or not they’re still alive at the end of the process, but we checked several markers to make sure that they were still physiologically the same cells at the end as they were when they went in. So we checked the potency markers to check the stem cells were still stem cells – because if they’re not stem cells then the technology isn’t worth anything, because you’ve changed them by printing. We want it to be as non invasive as possible. So on top of the fact that we’ve been able to prove that it’s over 90% viable, the cells are physiological identical when they come out of the printing process.

Marcus Fairs: How much does this have in common with a standard 3D printer such as a MakerBot?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: All the iterations of our technology started out as something else. The first generation model was a CNC machine, which was too big. We couldn’t do anything with it. So we made a series of these – this is the third one – and you might notice that some of the plastic bits are from a MakerBot.

Marcus Fairs: It’s hacked?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: Yeah. We rebuilt it. It has a completely new control system and everything but the plastic bits and the rails came off a Replicator 1. But the major difference of course is the print head, which is a completely different design. It’s a pressurised cartridge system which is fed into a solenoid valve with a nozzle on it. By opening and closing the valve, we can produce different volumes of fluid. And by changing the pressure and the opening time we can control the different size of droplet we produce.

Marcus Fairs: So it’s a pneumatic process rather than an extrusion process?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: Yes. The fluid is under pressure.

Marcus Fairs: Is this specifically aimed at the drug testing market?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: I’m aiming it at testing. My supervisor and some of the researchers aren’t exactly geared towards it but it lends itself strongly to replace animal testing.

Marcus Fairs: Tell us how that would work, and how soon it could be ready.

Alan Faulkner-Jones: At the moment unfortunately a lot of drugs have to be tested on animals for regulations. You have to prove that it works, which unfortunately leads to the drugs being tailored to the specific animals they’re tested on, which won’t give you an accurate response for a human. Which is why a lot of money is spent on drugs that don’t make it to market.

Marcus Fairs: They work for rabbits but they don’t work for people?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: Exactly. So they fail at the last hurdle basically. You’ve spent so long testing them on animals that they don’t work on humans. Or if they do they produce adverse side effects. So the idea is that we would produce micro-tissues of specific organs in the body and then they would have the same reaction to the physiological environment – drugs, everything – as the entire organ would do, but on a much smaller scale.

So you can apply the drug to the micro-tissue and it would give off the same result. So if it killed it or inflamed it, you’d get that response. And you could then connect a series of these micro-organs together into a system that is becoming known as “human on a chip” – so you can find the entire body’s reaction to a new drug or chemical.

Marcus Fairs: Tell us more about the human on a chip. Is that a digital chip or a biological one?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: With human on a chip you have areas on this micro-fluidic chip with a synthetic blood supply and nutrients, and introduce the drug inside each chamber, where you have micro organs that represent human organs. So you have one for the liver, the kidney, the lungs, the heart, brain tissue.

Marcus Fairs: So it’s like a chip of living tissue?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: Yes. It wold emulate the whole body’s response.

Marcus Fairs: And this could eliminate the need for animal testing?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: I hope so yes. If it gets to be as accurate as it should be, there would be no need to test on animals. You could even test personalised drugs. So you’d be able to use cells of the person that is ill and create specific micro-tissues that would replicate their response, rather than the response of a generic human.

Marcus Fairs: How far away is that?

Alan Faulkner-Jones: The micro-tissues I think would be in the order of five years away hopefully, if we carry on at the pace we are now. It’s just a matter of sorting out cell ratios at this point. We can produce cells, we just need to make sure we can get the physiological response. There are certain structures in the organs that are quite difficult to reproduce at a small level.


(source: dezeen.com)


I am so happy to read this!!! Animal testing is 100% unnecessary, medieval and barbaric.

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EU set to ban animal testing for cosmetics forever

Campaign pioneers The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International celebrate after 20 years of activism. 

After over 20 years of campaigning, ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop and non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International are finally celebrating the end to animal testing for cosmetics in Europe with the anticipated announcement that the import and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients is to be banned in the EU on 11th March 2013.

This ground breaking victory means that from 11th March onwards, anyone who wishes to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste. The Body Shop is one of the few beauty brands who will not be affected by the ban, having always been Against Animal Testing. 

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are launching a range of special commemorative activities in the countdown to 11th March, sparked by personal confirmation from Commissioner Tonio Borg that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed.  Mr Borg wrote in a recent letter to the animal testing campaigners, “I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban.”

The proposed ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty and in particular to countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals. 

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: “This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead.”

Paul McGreevy, International Values Director at The Body Shop paid tribute to customers who have supported the company’s campaign against animal testing in cosmetics for many years and said: “This great achievement in Europe is only the closure of one chapter. The future of beauty must be cruelty free.”

In 1991, the BUAV (founder of Cruelty Free International) established a European coalition of leading animal protection organisations across Europe (ECEAE) with the objective to end the use of animal testing for cosmetics. This set in motion a high-profile public and political campaign across Europe spanning over 20 years.  In 1993, The Body Shop, the first beauty company to take action on animal testing for cosmetics, supported   the campaign by enlisting the support of its consumers across Europe. Three years later in 1996, Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE and MEPs in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission.

In 2012, the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first global organisation dedicated to ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide. The Body Shop together with Cruelty Free International launched a new international campaign which has so far resulted in customers from 55 countries signing a global pledge supporting an end to animal testing for cosmetics forever

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive Michelle Thew is meeting with Commissioner Tonio Borg on Wednesday 30th January on behalf of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) to discuss the implementation of the ban.


Well that’s just bloody wonderful!! Very happy about this.

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Mars’ Heartless Animal Experiments

Not one of Mars’ experiments on animals is required by law. Even so, Mars has paid experimenters to kill untold numbers of animals in tests:


  • Mars recently funded an experiment on rats at the University of California, San Francisco, to determine the effect of chocolate ingredients on the animals’ blood vessels, even though the experimenter admitted that studies have already been done using humans. Experimenters force-fed the rats by shoving plastic tubes down their throats and then cut open the rats’ legs to expose an artery, which was clamped shut to block blood flow. After the experiment, the animals were killed.
  • Mars funded a deadly experiment on mice that was published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience in which mice were fed flavanols (phytochemicals that are found in chocolate) and forced to swim in a pool of water mixed with white paint to hide a submerged platform, which the mice had to find in order to avoid drowning, only to be killed and dissected later on.
  • In one experiment supported by Mars and conducted by the current Mars, Inc., endowed chair in developmental nutrition at the University of California, Davis, rats were fed cocoa and anesthesized with carbon dioxide so that blood could be collected by a needle injected directly into the heart—a procedure criticized by U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Dr. William T. Golde, who notes: “This is not a simple method. … Missing the heart or passing the needle completely through the heart could lead to undetected internal bleeding or other complications.”
  • Mars supported a cruel experiment to learn how a chocolate ingredient called PQQ affects metabolism by cramming baby mice into 200-milliliter Plexiglas metabolic chambers—around half the size of a 12-ounce soda can—and then submerging the chamber for nearly five hours in a chilled water bath, inducing labored breathing in the distressed mice. Experimenters then shoved tubes down the mice’s throats every day for 10 days to force-feed them the PQQ, after which they were killed and cut up for analysis.
  • Mars funded a test in which experimenters forced rabbits to eat a high-cholesterol diet with varying amounts of cocoa, then cut out and examined tissue from the rabbits’ primary blood vessel to the heart to determine the effect of cocoa on rabbits’ muscle tissue.
  • Mars supported a test in which experimenters attached plastic tubes to arteries in guinea pigs’ necks and injected cocoa ingredients into their jugular veins to examine the effect of cocoa ingredients on their blood pressure.

What the hell… WHY?! What is wrong with this world?

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