As well as the ethical issues associated with animal testing, a high proportion of the hundreds of compounds that undergo animal trials do not reach the market. Typically two thirds will fail human trials due undesirable side effects or lack of efficacy or unfavourable ADME – which were not observed in the animal models.
Kirkstall’s inter-connected cell culture system has been developed to allow drugs to be tested on human cells in a circulating medium, ‘blood equivalent’, which passes through cells held on substrates or scaffolds, mimicking the in-vivo environment and minimising the need for animal testing.
The benefits of the low cost Quasi-Vivo® system specific to the Pharmaceutical sector are:
- Proven to allow cultured primary human hepatocytes to retain their metabolic capability for up to 28 days.
- Data has shown that this allows more accurate assessments of drug metabolism in-vitro than is currently possible with current methods
- Allows the system to provide more accurate assessments of heptotoxicity in-vitro than is currently possible, this is a key issue in toxicity testing
- The system allows the linkage of hepatocyte cultures to cultures of other tissues to measure interactions, downstream toxicities and metabolism
- The linkage of cultures of different types provides an excellent model to study metabolic conditions such as diabetes where tissue interactions are inherent in the condition
- The system also allows for co-culture of different cell types that form a tissue in-vivo to again mimick more closely the in-vivo situation
The benefits of this are:
- Reducing the risk of drug testing and high attrition rates in the drug development pipeline.
- Increasing safety – drugs that have previously been tested on animals can still have adverse effects on humans and this risk is reduced.
- The drug development pipeline is shortened reducing the cost of testing and speeding up the process.