Author Topic: 3D cancer device cuts animal testing  (Read 511 times)

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3D cancer device cuts animal testing
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 12:43:56 PM »
3D cancer device cuts animal testing   
  • by: John von Radowitz
  • From:  AAP 
  • September 11, 2013
A NEW laboratory device that creates three dimensional cancer tumours can reduce animal testing by almost a third, scientists say.

The technology is part of a growing movement away from using animals to screen drugs.

Of all drug molecules investigated by scientists, only 10 per cent complete the journey from work bench to patient.

Part of the reason for the high failure rate is the poor efficiency of animal testing.

The "microcancer" assay was developed at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Most drugs are initially tested on cells in "flat" two dimensional culture plates before being evaluated in animals.

The new assay, which took two years to develop, consists of 96 "wells" each containing a 3D microtumour.

It can be used to study drugs that block the invasiveness of cancer as well as its growth.

"It's not just multiplication, it's movement that kills cancer patients," said lead scientist Professor Suzanne Eccles, speaking at the British Science Festival at the University of Newcastle.

"We've been able to reduce, so far, the number of compounds tested in-vivo (in animals) by 30 per cent."

The team had been given ethical approval to develop microcancers directly from patients, opening new doors for personalised medicine, Eccles said.

The device is also being further developed to increase the number of microcancer wells to almost 400.

The research has been funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, the body set up by the government to look at ways of reducing animal suffering in laboratories.

Eccles says she's sure there'll come a day when everything can be modelled, mimicked or computerised.

But she added the drug safety bar is "very high" and there's no prospect of that happening yet.