PETA volunteers and conservationists all across the Globe have a new reason for excitement, since a team of experts from Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies (EMFT) in Munich have finally come up with a green technology, seeking to stop laboratories from using animals to test new substances.
Their solution is based on nanosensors, which can detect the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), delivering chemical energy to cells.
By identifying and analyzing ATP,
experts can determine if a cell is healthy or not. Healthy ones store high levels of energy, while damaged ones stock significantly less.
"What we do is take living cells, which were isolated from human and animal tissue and grown in cell cultures, and expose them to the substance under investigation," explained Dr. Jennifer Schmidt from Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies.
This method is risk-free and enables researchers to find out if the tested drug displays the expected result. Moreover, once implemented in every laboratory, it is expected to replace the series of controversial, cruel tests performed on animals, in an efficient manner.
"Our nanosensors allow us to detect adenosine triphosphate and determine the state of health of cells. This makes it possible to assess the cell-damaging effects of medical compounds or chemicals," concluded Schmidt.
The same method could also be used in several other processes, like testing meat quality, revealing various health benefits without posing any risks.
So far, experts from EMFT still have to wait for an official approval. Even under these circumstances, their breakthrough is widely welcomed and cherished.
The idea of replacing tests conducted on living creatures with other methods has been supported by PETA, fighting animal dissection while claiming that computer simulations can provide satisfactory results, without having to rely on cruelty.
According to PETA, 10 million animals are involved in several lab experiments every year and 80% of the tests performed are extremely painful.