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SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH PROVIDES REAL ALTERNATIVE TO ANIMAL TESTING IN DRUGS RESEARCH - AS EUROPE DEMANDS FAR MORE TESTING TO BE CARRIED OUT.

QUICKER AND LESS EXPENSIVE APPROACH AVAILABLE TO ANIMAL TESTING NOW AVAILABLE.

Scientists at the University Of Western England (UWE), Bristol working with leading Bio-related healthcare research company Kaiku have developed a technology for measuring cell toxicity that eliminates the need to rely on animals for drug evaluation and toxicity testing.

The electrical characteristics of a cell are determined by composition of the cell and the charge distribution across various membranes within the cell and cell organelles. Work carried out at the University of the West of England in conjunction with Kaiku, has shown that by measuring changes in the electrical characteristics of cells, toxic effects of harmful compounds can be determined more rapidly than with traditional animal testing protocols, negating the moral debate of using animals to achieve the same.

The significance of these findings, using a new form of Impedance Spectroscopy RIS (Resonant Impedance Spectroscopy) means that by using cell culture systems the toxicity of potential pharmaceutical compounds can be evaluated, ethically, whilst saving time and money too.

This new technology is especially important as European legislation has dictated that all chemicals used by industry should have their toxicity evaluated and defined by the year 2018. This means that, over 30,000 chemicals need to be tested by then. Traditionally, this would be by the exhaustive use of animals to meet the targets. The first tests are scheduled to begin in 2008 so it is important that new technology is introduced as soon as possible to replace and reduce the numbers of animals used for toxicity testing.

As Richard Luxton Principal Lecturer at UWE says, "The replacement of animal testing is an important theme in UK and European research, supporting the 3Rs - replacement, refinement and reduction. But beyond this, we are at a point where technology has come to the aid of a social and moral campaign that usually is seen at odds with scientists."

The development and introduction of alternative methods for the assessment of toxicity is monitored at a European level by a not-for-profit, non governmental organisation and organisation called ecopa (European Consensus Platform on 3RA-Alternatives). ecopa acts as an umbrella organisation at European level for a number of National Consensus Platforms for the promotion of the 3Rs in member states.

Says Dr. Hassan Amrani Technical Director Kaiku, "There is a real moral dimension here. European legislators are driving organisations both academic and commercial alike towards a huge programme of testing with animals in the front line. However, with this technology the testing can be carried out in a way that removes any social conflict."

For an executive summary of the technology please contact:

Contact details:

Dr. Hassan Amrani
Technical Director
Kaiku Ltd
Greenheys Centre
Manchester Science Park
Manchester
M15 6JJ

Tel 0161 227 8900

About Kaiku:

The Kaiku group of companies offer advanced instrumentation to the process and medical industries. Kaiku Process saves food and drink companies money by using the "intelligent pipe" to increase productivity and reduce waste. Kaiku Medical is working on a method of replacing animal testing for toxicity monitoring

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