In December 2022, US president Joe Biden signed legislation that may change the future of research. Due to the new law, the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) is no longer obligated to ask for animal medicine testing before human trials.
Animal testing has been criticized in recent years, not only by animal rights activists but also by companies and scientists. More than nine out of ten drugs approved by animal trials failed the subsequent human clinical tests – either because it was unsafe or ineffective. A company even took court action against the FDA for requesting animal testing.
Recent developments like organ chips (silicon-based chips containing human organ cells) or so-called organoids (artificial cell clusters mimicking human tissue) show promising results. May such inventions be the future of research and animal testing soon banned to history books?
Not all researchers are so enthusiastic about these alternatives. Some say that the technologies are still in their infancy, and it will take years until they will be able to replace animal testing. For others, they are too focused on single tissues and don’t take the whole organism into account. There are also voices saying that the FDA is too conservative and won’t make much use of the new law.
But at least the new legislation opens the discussion about alternatives to animal testing. It may not be a revolution but a small step into a future where animal trials could be reduced.
Full Article: Meredith Wadman, Science, January 2023, https://www.science.org/content/article/fda-no-longer-needs-require-animal-tests-human-drug-trials#.Y76qbV8imp4.linkedin