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‘Artificial Micro Humans’ To Be ‘Farmed’ For Drug Testing By 2017

By Phungushead, Nov 7, 2014 | | |
  1. Phungushead
    View attachment 41553 In response to the torture and subsequent death of millions of animals every year, a supposed friendlier substitute, genetically modified ‘micro humans,’ have begun their eventual descent into chemical testing farms, reports the Times of India.

    In fact, early versions of these micro-humans containing a gut, heart, lung, liver and kidney are already being used to test cosmetics, drugs and other chemicals that are conventionally tested on animals.

    The GM micro-humans are being designed to simulate the response of humans to substances inhaled, absorbed through the gut, or entering the bloodstream. ‘Farms’ that would contain hundreds of these micro-human machines are now in the works, and could be replacing animal testing farms within three years.

    If the micro-human farms are approved by regulators, most animal testing farms would be shut down worldwide, said Uwe Marx, an engineer from Technische Universitat Berlin and founder of TissUse, a firm developing the technology. Genetically engineered micro humans for chemical testing would save the lives of over 90 million animals each year.

    Engineered micro humans for chemical testing would save the lives of over 90 million animals each year.

    The apparent issue with animal testing is that 1) It’s claiming the lives of tens of millions of animals each year, and 2) Chemical testing on animals doesn’t always provide accurate enough data to determine product safety for humans.

    Researchers are saying that the new farms will eliminate unsafe human drug trials, speed up the development of life-saving treatments, as well as one day be used to tailor medicine to individual patients.

    Clearly the biggest up-side to the situation is ground-breaking, the conservation of millions of innocent animals. However, one can’t help but wonder if we’ve gone too far in the name of drug and cosmetic testing.

    Additionally, the question begs, could there be an ulterior agenda behind GM micro human testing? If faster drug development gives reason for testing on micro-humans, then naturally one must wonder what ulterior motives Big Pharma has tied into the equation.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that this development is the game changer we’ve been waiting for with regards to animal testing and cruelty? Share with us below.

    06 November 2014

    Jeff Roberts
    Collective Evolution


  1. Wanderer
    While it's true that animal models don't necessarily correspond completely to human testing, and in many cases they are just plain wrong, a better method does need to be found to determine effects of new pharmaceuticals development in humans and the effects new pharmaceuticals might have in the human body.

    Completely agree that without the entire system, because administration of new pharmaceuticals is generally systemic, and the complete effects cannot be examined without examining the entire human biological system. What might be a target for a new pharmaceutical may work in the "test tube" of GM cells, it cannot replicate the entire body and the potential effects it could have when introduced.

    Sometimes there are even psychological effects which cannot be measured just by introducing a new pharmaceutical to a group of target cells. There could be reactions in other systems, for instance the liver, which might not be recognized in doing such simple testing. The thought of Phen-Fen comes to mind and how it was supposed to be a silver bullet for obesity, but had extreme detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system.

    Alternatives need to be found, true, and as bad as it is to subject animals to harm abhorrent, it's probably the best method we have today. Hopefully enlightened researchers can come up with a better alternative eventually.

    Be responsible...
  2. malsat
    Question. Will the micro humans be outfitted with adorable tiny hats? I do hope so.
  3. mersann
    I don't know. I'm generally a huge opponent of animal testing.

    In order to really represent humans with regard to drugs, these "artificial micro humans" would need a brain, and they would need a brain that feels pain and pleasure at the very least. That means -- if we want to avoid the ethical problems -- that those "artificial micro humans" would only work for tests on whether drugs affect other organs than the brain or with regard to drugs where we can be reasonably sure that they don't affect the brain, which would restrict such tests to drugs that are not psychoactive.

    Even with all those restrictions, I don't really like the idea, but I have a hard time explaining why. It would seem that, when there is no awareness, no pleasure, no pain, no consciousness, that it's a good way to go, but maybe I'm afraid of the obvious but potentially ethically catastrophic ways that open up from this route of research?

    I personally think that it would be way better to invest in computer simulations, and by that, I don't mean simulations that gain consciousness themselves, since that would open up for the same problems as any other conscious entitty. I'm rather referring to smaller and more detailed areas of research. I also wish that more human studies would be done in the first place, but in a responsible way, such as beginning with really low doses on informed participants and doing long-term research in way larger orders of magnitude than is done these days. I understand that pharmacology is big business though, and as such my ideas are unlikely to become true in their entirety any time soon.
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