Human Cell Tests More Accurate
New research by the University of Uppsala shows that human cell tests are a more reliable indicator of drug safety than animal experimentation.
The safety-testing of new anti-HIV drugs should become faster and more accurate thanks to recent breakthroughs in human cell-line technologies.
According to a seven-year study co-ordinated by the University of Uppsala in Sweden, toxicity tests using the latest in vitro human cell methods are the most reliable. Animal-based research showed much lower levels of dependability.
Known as the Multicentre Evaluation of In vitro Cytotoxicology (MEIC), it found that advanced human cell tests were 22 percent more accurate than laboratory animals in predicting toxicity.
The MEIC study, conducted from 1989-1996, involved 84 scientific teams in the US, Japan and Europe. It revealed that the accuracy of toxicity tests was 80 percent using new human cell-line tests, compared to only 58 percent in experiments with other species. The researchers concluded that animal research is a relatively poor predictor of toxicity in humans, and that the new human cell methods offer a credible scientific alternative to laboratory animals.
These findings have huge potential benefits for people with AIDS, paving the way for experimental HIV treatments to be tested to much higher standards of safety and efficacy.
Positive Nation, November 1997
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