News Feature | March 25, 2014

Animal Testing Reduced By Creation Of New Drug Research Technology

By Marcus Johnson

New technology is making it easier to develop effective pharamceutical drugs without the use of animal testing. Animal activists have been pushing pharmaceutical companies to end animal testing for years, but many governments require the testing before human clincial trials could begin. Researchers at Empiriko have developed a new way for scientists and drug companies to test pharmaceuticals safely and effectively using technology instead of animals. The technology centers on “chemosynthetic livers,” which mimic the human liver.

Mukund Chorghade, the chief scientific officer of Empiriko, says that chemosynthetic livers are important for drug testing because human livers are esstential in distributing drugs throughout the body. If the liver can’t successfully break down a drug, the drug could be rendered ineffective or even function as a toxin.

“Whenever we take a medicine, our liver enzymes start acting on that particular drug,” said Chorghade. “The livers are the organs by which drugs get distributed in the human body, and they are the primary method for excretion, because you don’t want the drug accumulating in your body. Say you’re testing a compound, and it has to be fed to a rat or a dog.  Then you withdraw samples of the drug from the urine, the saliva and the feces, and then you study the distribution of the metabolites throughout those. The concentrations will be very small, and when you’re done studying them, in many studies, the animals are euthanized at the end of it.”

Chroghade believes that his company’s new technology will help to serve the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry. Chemosynthetic livers can make the drug research process more efficient. It also can make it easier to comply with new regulations that ban or restrict the amount of animal testing permitted by pharmaceutical companies.