Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A lab rat -- created in the lab: Bioengineering tissues as an alternative to animal testing

Date:
April 15, 2010
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
A researcher in Israel has concluded that tissue necessary for animal trials can be produced from fat, skin, bone and muscle cells. His breakthrough study could have hundreds of applications in the pharmaceutical and medical world.

Fat cells (dyed orange) produced in a lab setting by Prof. Amit Gefen.
Credit: Image courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Health products with medical formulations cannot be accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration without tests on animals -- a situation that arguably has ethical and moral implications. New research in the field of tissue engineering by Prof. Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering holds a promise that far fewer lab animals may one day be needed for the necessary experimental trials.

Related Articles


Dr. Gefen's research into fat cells, published in a recent issue of Tissue Engineering, has led him to conclude that the necessary tissue can be produced from fat, skin, bone and muscle cells. His breakthrough study could have hundreds of applications in the pharmaceutical and medical world.

"Drugs make our lives better, and basic science is needed to push new drugs through clinical trials. But there is no doubt that an untold number of animals are sacrificed in the laboratory setting -- both in basic research and in applied conditions when testing particular molecules," says Prof. Gefen, who heads TAU's Teaching Laboratory for Cell and Tissue Engineering. As a medical researcher himself, he was dependent on animal trials for testing new hypotheses he developed for living systems -- until recently.

A more efficient road to scientific research

Bridging the worlds of biology and engineering, Prof. Gefen is now using adult rat stem cells -- cells that can be stimulated to create skin, bone, fat and muscle tissue from an animal in a laboratory setting. In his own work on studying the mechanical properties of pressure ulcers, many tissue replications were needed. His new approach no longer requires the sacrifice of large numbers of animals. When an experiment is over, not one animal life has been lost.

The use of engineered tissues, says Prof. Gefen, may also be more scientifically efficient than using those from a living source. "The model we've created offers a very reliable method for researchers asking questions about basic science, and those investigating new drugs. We can injure tissue in a very controlled environment and grow muscle tissue without blood vessels, thereby neutralizing certain variables that often cloud what's happening in an experiment."

Saving lives and improving research at the same time

Though Prof. Gefen's method may not completely eliminate the need for animal testing, as few as 5% of the animals used today will need to be sacrificed in future tests, he predicts.

"It's a matter of proportion. Our tools spare an enormous number of lives," Prof. Gefen says. He is currently bringing together a number of discrete research directions from the separate fields of mechanics, tissue engineering and biology. He is also developing a new tool for researchers to investigate fat accumulation in cells (an important question for diabetes researchers) and weight loss drugs. Among his devices is one that can tell doctors how much mechanical stress is being placed on a person's foot, buttocks or other soft tissues. Another measures how much sensation is left in a diabetic limb. For all these approaches, Prof. Gefen has adopted tissue engineering methods to use fewer animals in his trials.

"We are now able to build a number of 'simplified' living tissues quite readily, and we're able to keep them 'alive,'" Prof. Gefen says. "They're genetically similar to the biological tissue of the animal, so we can factor out irrelevant physiological elements such as bleeding and pain response in an experiment. The fact that this tissue is genetically identical and the environmental factors are so well-controlled means that we can obtain far more experimental reproducibility than with experiments done on live animals."

In the future, Prof. Gefen hopes that similar models can be based on live human tissue, but that could be a number of years down the road.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shira Or-Tzadikario, Ran Sopher, Amit Gefen. Quantitative Monitoring of Lipid Accumulation Over Time in Cultured Adipocytes as Function of Culture Conditions: Toward Controlled Adipose Tissue Engineering. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 2010: 100324175921082 DOI: 10.1089/ten.tec.2009.0755

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "A lab rat -- created in the lab: Bioengineering tissues as an alternative to animal testing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413121330.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2010, April 15). A lab rat -- created in the lab: Bioengineering tissues as an alternative to animal testing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413121330.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "A lab rat -- created in the lab: Bioengineering tissues as an alternative to animal testing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413121330.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins