In vitro tests systems use glass test tubes to make an assessment on a variety of household and commercial products, as well as hazardous waste. For example, Corrositex--by In Vitro International--uses test tubes with a "bio-barrier" that perfectly mimics human skin. The counter part, in vivo (which uses live animals) requires weeks for samples to be tested, while in vitro takes only hours for results. To test a chemical for shipment, the Department of Transportation requires a corrosive (liquid or solid) material be tested for corrosivity. Using rabbits as test subjects, a laboratory "expos[es] the shaved skin on the backs of six rabbits to a gauze patch [with] corrosive material to see how long it takes the chemical to eat through the rabbits skin" (Chenoweth). The length of time that the chemical takes to destroy the skin indicates which classification the material should be packed in. In vitro methods are a perfect, permanent substitute, because they give results that are more reliable and more specific. Using Corrositex, “the corrosive sample, [placed in a pre mixed test solution and enclosed in a glass vial], destroys [the] bio-barrier, the fluid below changes color or texture. Users simply record the time it takes for the sample to break through the membrane” (Corrositex).
Another method that also has the same benefits as Corrositex is IRRITECTION Assay System (IAS), developed by In Vitro International. IAS has two specific tests uses: ocular and dermal irritation. Both can serve for a large selection of uses, such as cosmetics, textiles, industrial chemicals, and even special applications. Companies will no longer have to send out samples (cost inefficient) to an independent lab and have results come back weeks later (time inefficient). Now a company can have an in-house setup with full support from In Vitro Int.. For example, IAS can be adapted to test the irritancy of cosmetics, shampoos, and chemicals that may come in contact with the eye.
Changes in the structure of proteins is calculated and reported in computer data programs. These results are compared with data base of optical density measurements and then rated. IAS tests will allow companies to save up to 80% on testing expenses verse the costly, and inhumane, use of rabbits, dogs, and other innocent animals.
Instead of killing animals to try and cure human disease, a more logical and scientific approach is done through clinical trials. Clinical trials offer the absolute required results for testing new drugs and vaccines. Using the more famous approach, infecting primates with human disease, researchers are finding results that are misleading. This is because the stress of a radically changed environment and the fact that primates can not get the same disease. “Controlled clinical trials, in which results observed in patents getting the drug are compared to the results in similar patients receiving a different treatment, are the best way science had come up with to determine what a new drug really does” (Flieger). Furthermore, the FDA does not solely rely on animal experiments of drug effects; they must see concrete clinical evidence for human tests. Animals are wasted of needed money and time in the field of medicine. Clinical trials are well established and give results which tell what kind of side effect a particular drug had on the human body. A;; clinical trials rely on volunteers; most are hospital patents with deadly diseases--without them it would be impossible to cure fatal diseases that infect humans today.
These examples are only a few of the many tests that are used and continually improved to meet the need of all areas of research; in attempt to eliminate the misleading results obtained from animal studies. To ensure the health of the human race, (and the well being of animals) it is important that doctors, scientists, and researchers utilize clinical trials, in vitro tests, human tissue and cell cultures, and autopsy reports so that human medicine is based on human results and products, chemicals, and other man made materials are not tested on animals.
Chenoweth, Dennis E. “The Acid Test: Regulations for testing and identifying corrosives vary, but current packing requirements now meet international standards.” Occupational Health and Safety Sept. 1995; In Vitro International, 1998.
Corrositex: Break through technology with bottom--line benefits. Irvine: In Vitro Intl. 1994.
Flieger, Ken. “Testing Drugs in People.” FDA: Pharmaceutical Information Netwerk. online. Netscape. 20 June 1998.
Introducing the In Vitro IRRITECTION Assay System; Advanced Ocular and Dermal Irritancy Testing To Help You Better Manage Your Business. Irvine: In Vitro Intl., 1995.
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