Ashish Gupta Konagalla
Professor Olga Ware
10 November, 2018
There are alternatives to animal testing
As humans and citizens of the United States, we have certain rules and regulations on
what is right and what is not, also known as civil rights. They help us accomplish our essential
needs or duties for living a safe, blessed, and a healthy life. Animals, however, do not have any
of these rights to make sure they have ideal living situations like we do. They are used for
various research purposes like cosmetic research, disease analytics, sports, etc. Animal testing
laboratories kill and torture innocent animals daily. The laboratories foul smell of bleach and the
dirty maintenance of cages affect animals very severely. The awful scents in the cages fill their
nostrils, and they are sometimes even forced to walk in their own urine and feces. These animals
suffer in these conditions daily, and death seems likely for them which is what mostly happens at
the end. Possessing faultless and crimeless animals contrary to their will and tormenting them
with extremely toxic substances is animal cruelty and should be illegal; there are efficient and
alternative ways of testing: New methods of treatments and prescription of certain drugs.
Animal Testing is essentially referred to the use of animals in several experiments and
augmented projects to evaluate the content of toxicity, dosage, and capability of test drugs
before injecting them into humans. Animal testing is quite a disputable topic because it involves
the utility of a living organism to perform various drug tests and chemical tests which can most
likely have an inevitable outcome. The magnitude of stress that is deposited onto the animal
through the testing phase is ailing and agonizing for the animal. The drugs and various harmful
substances artificially injected onto the animal have long duration effects which make the
animals suffer till the desired result is achieved. This is so merciless and not right. Animals need
not undergo this immense pain.
There are diverse reasons for animal testing, one of the chief reasons being cosmetic
purposes. These include facial cosmetic brands, dermatoplasty practices like Botox. Scientists
are using animals to explore diverse drugs and chemicals and fundamentally noticing for peculiar
reactions from them. Cosmetics are substances designed to be exercised to the human body on a
daily basis for attractiveness, beautifying, or diversifying appearance without affecting the
structure of the body or its functions. Most of the popular brands test their products on animals.
Companies like Vaseline, Dove, Avon, Johnson and Johnson, and several more companies
conduct their product tests on animals. Scientists perform skin irritation tests which polish
chemicals onto the skin or directly drop the chemicals into animals’ eyes. They are
experimenting products with the chemicals that could probably cause irritation, such as makeup
remover, mascara, eye shadow, and several things applied to the eye or eyelid. There are
alternatives to these type of tests which are merciful and can be replaced with them.
One of the efficient alternative methods is the use of in vitro cell and tissue cultures
which associate the growth of cells in a laboratory set up environment and not in the body of
animals. The tissues and cells from various parts of the body like liver, skin, kidney, brain, etc
are taken out from the body of the animal and kept in a pertinent growth medium for several
days, months, or even years. In vitro ability of human/animal cells is the separation of their cells
and developing as a single layer over the surface of culture plates/flasks. Cellular components
like membrane fragments, cellular enzymes can also be used. This methodology is generally
associated for the use of preliminary screening of potential drug molecules/chemicals to review
their toxicity and efficacy. Most of the cosmetics’, drugs’ and, chemicals’ toxicity and efficacy is
measured using these tests. For instance, A test named Draize test was used to check the eye
irritancy of chemicals which were put on animals. This test was excruciating and everytime a
new animal was required. Using the in vitro cells, the researchers found an alternative which
uses bovine corneal organ culture. The bovine cornea is put under observation in a laboratory for
three weeks and several analytical methods are used to evaluate the amount of toxic effect.
Benefits obtained with this technique is that no interference of animals is required, takes less
time, less expensive and easy to follow.
Animal testing helps to reduce the risk of an unprepared circumstance occurring when
humans use the products that were previously experimented on animals. Drugs, due to its
harmfulness allows the researchers to determine the quality and safety of it before using on
Existence of systems like humans, animals are highly complex. Analyzing cell cultures in
a petri dish, maybe advantageous, does not provide the opportunity to inspect the interrelated
processes which are going on inside the nervous, endocrine, and immune system. Evaluating a
drug for its side effects demands a circulatory system to dispatch the medicine to different organs
in the body which is impossible to test without having the physical animal. Furthermore,
conditions such as lack of sight and high blood pressure cannot be evaluated without an animal.
Even the most advanced technology in today’s world won’t be able to accurately simulate the
workings of complex structures in our bodies like brain, heart, etc.
Diseases are another reason for animal testing. Cancer, AIDS, Lukemia, diabetes, and
many more are the critical diseases scientists are trying to find antidotes for. The other side to
animal testing can possibly defend lives by discovering cures for these life terrorizing diseases.
This is the reason few sections of animal testing are so crucial to our health systems and
patients. Many research organizations including universities use animals to test in various types
of training programs. At the University of Michigan, once, nursing students used a cat to practice
putting a tube into its windpipe. The ambition of the practice was to see if the nurses could work
in a critical conditions like performing this procedure on a survival flight. Nevertheless, a family
adopted the cat later on and was never harmed since then. Though this meticulous practice seems
sanitary, campaigns extended to march against the usage of live animals.
The reason why only animals are used for testing is because the genetic profile of animals
is 98 percent similar to that of humans. Mice, especially, is mostly used in the researches because
they are tiny, easily housed and conserved. They also accommodate well to the new surroundings
and reproduce instantly having a short lifespan of two to three years, so several generations of
mice can be examined in a proportionately short period of time. Chimpanzees were prominent in
the past, and they still are in few parts of the world, because their genetic profile is 99 percent
similar to a human. With identical organs, circulatory systems, it’s possible for researchers to
look over the animal reactions and be able to make precise prediction on how humans may react
to these situations.
Various methods have been advised to dodge the animal use especially in testing for
diseases. These methods dispense an alternative means for the drug and chemical testing up to a
certain level. One such effective method is the use of computer models which requires less cost,
less manpower, less time and is cost effective.
Computers can be made to understand several basic conventions of anatomy( biology in
general). Specialized computer models can be modified and programmed to help layout the
design of new medicines. Computer accomplished simulations are used to estimate the several
possible biological and toxic effects of a chemical or strong drug particle without animal
dissection. Only the most favorable molecules attained from primary screening are used for in
vivo experimentation. In vivo means “in the living.” In biochemistry, it demonstrates that an
experiment is being done in circumstances that absolutely replicate those existing in nature,
usually within a living organism. In vitro, in contrast, means “in a test tube,” or “in a glass.” For
example, to know the receptor binding site of a drug, in vivo experimentation is necessary.
Software acknowledged as Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD, uses computational accession
to discover, analyze, and develop drugs and related biologically active molecules. It involves a
colossal number of computational methodologies like virtual screening, virtual library design,
lead optimization, and so forth.) is used to anticipate the receptor binding site for a strong drug
molecule. CADD strives to determine the probable binding site which then avoids testing of
nonessential chemicals having no biological activity. Furthermore, with the assistance of such
software programs we can create a new drug for a definite binding site and then in the closing
state, animal testing is performed to obtain endorsing results. Hence, the gross count of
experimental animals is reduced.
Additional prominent method is the use of Structure Activity Relationship(SAR)
computer programs. The prominence of SAR is that it foresees biological activity of a drug
particle based on the existence of chemical moieties which are attached to the parent compound.
This is possible through the models of QSAR(Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship) that
we have. QSAR is the mathematical description of the relationship between physiochemical
properties of a drug particle and its biological activity. Various activities such as mutagenicity
and carcinogenicity of a strong drug particle was well foreseen by the computer database.
However, the modern QSAR software gives more pertinent conclusion while foreseeing the
carcinogenicity of a certain molecule.
There are more advantages to the computer models over the physical animals because of
their speed, and comparatively less expensive procedures. A great example would be the
research study by “Dewhurst et al” who determined the impressiveness of computer models over
the laboratory practices. In this analogous study, undergraduate students were divided into two
groups, one experimenting via the conventional lab approach and the other using the Computer
Assisted Learning(CAL). CAL is just like a virtual computer assisted learning without the use of
any original experimental tools. At the conclusion of the study, both the groups were tested on
their knowledge skills through quizzes, interpretations, etc and realized that students executing
CAL had more appropriate knowledge and problem solving perspective. Likewise, the cost of
advanced techniques was way lower than conventional laboratory practices.
Using advanced software and computers, researchers have acquired enough ability to run
mind boggling complex equations. But that doesn’t help replacement of animal testing with
simulation. It’s not that the computer does not possess decent computational powers. No matter,
how much its computational ability be, simulations only do what you tell them to. It’s just a thing
which tries to duplicate the effects or nature of the system that it models. And there’s the
problem, right over there. Computers only do exactly what you tell them to; what if you tell them
to do which isn’t right, then no matter how smart the computer may be it gives you the wrong
result. If we, well and truly, are aware of what we are simulating, we can expect an astonishingly
accurate outcome. For instance, simulations of wind tunnels and aircrafts can be done with
accuracy because it’s within the human ability to measure them. We can actually get more
accurate results using a computational model than a scale model. But that’s not how it works for
biological simulations: we never know how they work. A study done by scientist named Otto
Warburg, discovered that majority of the cancer cells have irregular metabolism. Usually normal
cells use their mitochondria to produce energy, but with the case of cancer cells, they use entirely
different metabolic pathway known as Warburg effect. It’s been several years since we know the
Warburg effect but yet the answer for why does it do that remains. So, we cannot have
simulations for these kind of situations because we don’t know the causes for it. Similarly, DNA
in the cell changes in cancer is hugely complicated. We’re no means close to understanding of it.
So, we cannot simulate it. To be decisive, biology and medicine are just cram full of mechanisms
that is beyond consciousness.
People certainly want the assets that evolve from animal research. They require the
animals to be well-treated and to encounter less pain and anguish. There is no hesitation in
saying that non-animal alternatives are going to be the future and it’s going to happen sooner or
later. Different alternatives to the use of animals have been put forward which needs to be
implemented in an efficient manner. For the integration of different computer simulations, tools,
in vitro cell cultures, there is a necessity of enzymatic screens and simulated organisms. Using
modern approaches like data acquisition and demographic methods to inspect the outcomes of
alternative obligations will provide faithful results. These scientific approaches will result in
minimal use of animals in the laboratories.
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