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WellBeing News

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Abstract

Periodically, WellBeing News (WBN) carries a story on using animals to test the safety of chemicals (see May 2021 and December 2021). Advocacy campaigns to switch from animal tests to non-animal alternatives started over a hundred years ago. Public policy initiatives and technological advances leading to the implementation of alternatives began several decades ago. The WBN December 2021 story included an illustration of five selected countries showing animal use in laboratories increased rapidly from 1900 to the mid-1970s and then declined almost as rapidly to around 20-40% of peak laboratory animal use. It should be noted that the technical capacity to create genetically modified organisms (GMO mice) resulted in brief upward blips in laboratory animal numbers in most countries this century. However, animal use is again declining because GMO mice have not provided the expected research discoveries and insights. Instead, the latest focus is on developing so-called “organs-on-a-chip” using human cells grown on silicon wafers to mimic the behavior of human organs. Harvard University’s Wyss Institute and TISSUSE in Berlin are pioneers of this technology.

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