Understanding the downsides to animal testing

August 10, 2022

Animal testing has been, and largely continues to be, a gold standard to test both the efficacy and safety of new pharmaceuticals and therapeutics.

There are admittedly advantages to animal tests in that they are capable of modelling a wide array of considerations when developing a drug compound due to their complexity.

However, there are significant downsides to the use of animals outside of their ethical concerns such as non-human predictability and safety. For example, the Northwick Park trail in the UK relied on non-human primates for a large amount of the safety testing. Said primates were capable of tolerating very high doses of the monoclonal antibody compound with no major side effects. However, when just 1:100th of the tested compound was administered to human volunteers in a phase 1 clinical trail, all 6 volunteers had to be hospitalised, 2 seriously.

Above: Skimune(R) is capable of detecting the immunotoxic effect of TGN1412 used during the Northwick Park trail.

Modern assays such as our Skimune(R) have been developed to complement and ultimately replace animal use in preclinical research. Skimune(R) could have prevented the Northwick park trail with over 90% of tested donors exhibiting a significant immunotoxic response in our assay! Our assay is able to maintain the complexity of the human immune system by using human tissues as their basis.

Above: Schematic representation of the Skimune(R) assay.

We’ve validated our assay for chemicals, cosmetics, small molecules, pharmaceuticals, antibodies and cellular therapies to name a few. Contact us to find out more!

Written by Dr Matthew Freer, Scientific Business development officer,

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