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Dependence on Lab Animals for Testing Asthma and Allergy Agents Reduced with 3D Test

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 13 Apr 2014
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In a recent study, scientists report that they’ve developed a simple, three-dimensional (3D) laboratory technique to test asthma and allergy medications that mimics what occurs in the body, which could help reduce the need for animal testing.

Dr. Amir Ghaemmaghami and colleagues from the University of Nottingham (UK) noted that respiratory disorders, such as asthma and allergies, are becoming more common. These conditions affect the lungs and the airway leading to the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Respiratory symptoms lead to expensive hospital visits, as well as absences from work and school. Improved agents could provide better relief, but before giving new medicines to people, researchers must first test them in animals—an expensive and arduous process. Sometimes, researchers will use 2D tests in which they apply the drug to a layer of human cells in a lab dish instead, but this is not a satisfactory way to tell how a pharmaceutical agent will perform in a whole animal or a whole individual. Therefore, Dr. Ghaemmaghami’s team developed a new, 3D alternative.

Their test includes three types of human cells that are typically in a person’s airway. In the body, these cells are close together and are involved in the development of respiratory conditions. The 3D model reacted similar to an actual person’s airway when they exposed it to allergens and bacterial extract. They say that the model has the potential of reducing the need for some animal testing of new drugs for respiratory conditions.

The study’s findings were published March 14, 2014, in the ACS’ journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

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