Human Organ Farms Could Stop Animal Testing in Just 3 Years, Say Scientists

Advances in technology continue to offer us hope that we will soon be living in a world where countless animals aren’t used in experiments to test how we will react to drugs and chemicals. Now, German scientists are adding to that vision with an announcement that they believe their work could make animal testing obsolete in as few as three years with the development of human organ farms.

In reality, these human organ farms aren’t nearly as creepy as they sound. The human organs didn’t come straight out of a person’s body, but are artificial microchips, otherwise known as organs-on-chips, built to replicate how cells and organs of the human body function.

Uwe Marx, a tissue engineer from Technische Universitšt Berlin and founder of TissUse, one of the firms developing the technology, made his case in support of human organ farms last week at the 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Prague. According to the Sunday Times, he said:

“In the future, it will be possible, for example, to significantly reduce the number of animals used in pharmaceutical research and to substitute current alternative methods to animal testing. If this system is approved it would close down most of the animal-testing laboratories worldwide. I hope to create human farms made up of hundreds of machines.”

While two organ systems are already in use and four organ systems are already in the works, Marx believes they’re only three years away from building a ten-organ chip that “could revolutionize drug development.”

In the U.S., scientists at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have also been†working on these organ chips for the past five years, starting out with lung-on-a-chip. They’ve since developed more than 10 different models, are working on a five-organ chip and also aim to build a ten-organ chip that can mimic the entire human body, in addition to designing software that can control and analyze different functions.

As the university notes, clinical studies can take years to complete and testing a single compound can cost millions, while that part comes after even more years and millions are used for research and development.

The testing process itself also costs innumerable animal lives to be lost in the process, which often fails to predict reactions “because traditional animal models do not accurately mimic human physiology.”

Not only are we getting failing results in humans, but we’re missing out on a host of things that might have been successful for us but were scrapped because they failed to show results in animals. This past July, the Wyss Institute announced a new partnership with a startup company that was launched to help get these chips out on the commercial market.

Of course a lot of other things will need to happen before we kiss animal testing goodbye and empty the cages forever. Scientists working on alternatives will need to secure a lot of funding and prove those alternatives are effective, while regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration will have to get on board and drop their animal testing requirements.

Still, seeing members of the scientific community addressing the shortcomings of the animal model and getting serious about the development and implementation of alternatives that are faster, cheaper and more reliable is incredibly heartening and bodes well for a cruelty-free future that benefits both us and animals.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

113 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Ann Breuer
Ann B4 years ago

ANIMAL TESTING SHOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW PERIOD!!!!!THERE ARE OTHERS WAYS....FINALLY COSMETICS ARE USUALLY ANIMAL FREE FROM TESTING...IT SHOULD BE IN ALL ASPECTS!!!!!

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper4 years ago

noted

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P M.
Bu M4 years ago

I wish we could sue companies who DO test on animals! It's NOT necessary today!

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Leia P.
Leia P.4 years ago

this is wonderful

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Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

Pétropolis : now you can help the sanctuary that is home to farm animals, victims of exploitation, of abuse, and all kinds of cruelty. Some comes from Pétropolis some from other places around this city. Today there are 150 lucky animals, please give, for keeping them and to rescue other ones : ♥ Fairy sanctuary - or - ♥ Doe

Thank you for sharing

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Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ STERILIZE YOUR PETS ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

Thank you to all hearts who already signed the petition to protect horses from Pétropolis, if no, please help give an happy end to the dirty story of those enslaved animals, and share these petitions :
Care 2 - and - ♞ PeticaoPublica.com
To see more : Pétropolis sad album.

Angev

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Susan Griffiths
Susan Griffiths4 years ago

Animal testing and the laws requiring it exist because of the fear companies have of being sued: of being deemed legally liable, which means financial payouts. The insurance companies add to this pressure. Yo put an end to testing on animals we need to not neglect working with the insurance companies and also setting legal precedents that do not require such testing.

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David B.
David B4 years ago

again I say , we have prisons full of murderers , rapists , pedophiles , why not let them contribute some thing back to make up for all the harm and terror they caused , instead of just free room and board for the rest of their life . your testing things meant for use on humans why not test them on humans , or the closest thing to humans considering what they have done I guess there still humans .

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