A breakthrough in human-on-a-chip testing could help hasten the end of animal experimentation.
Human-on-a-chip technology uses donated human tissue to mimic human organs, and has been key in the testing of chemical safety as well as vaccine production and drug development, according to Cruelty Free International.
Scientists at the University of Central Florida have made progress in growing human heart cells, which means they can now more accurately predict the effects of drugs and chemicals on the human heart - previously cited as a key reason in the failure of drug trials.
Heart and liver
Cruelty Free International says it is often it is not the drugs themselves that are toxic to the heart, but how they are processed by the liver that causes a problem.
"The new breakthrough has helped University of Central Florida scientists work out how both the heart and the liver will react to different chemical substances," the organization adds. "This gives a much more accurate indication of how the human body will respond."
No need for animal suffering
"These latest advancements in human-on-a-chip technology improve the prediction of heart toxicity in humans, which has been a major factor in the failure of new drugs," Dr. Jarrod Bailey, Senior Research Scientist at Cruelty Free International, said in a statement.
"It gives even better results than before, is superior to animal tests, and more accurately reflects what will happen in people.
"This is an exciting example of how a modern-day innovation can produce a much more humane and human-relevant way of understanding human disease processes and the effects of new drugs and chemicals, without the need for animal suffering."