England - The international conference on tissue engineering has highlighted the ability of this technique to replace the animal laboratory, providing other "tools" of tests in biomedical research.
In vitro culture of mammalian cells allows researchers to both study and test new drugs or therapies. But culture in vitro is different from cells in vivo, those of the living animal. Tissue engineering is now trying to mimic or recreate in vitro models as representative as possible of the living model.
The animal is not the most appropriate model for studies of human pathologies. The 3D cell cultures appear to be good role models, but still need to be improved and their reliability. This technique is already applied to the modeling of damaged spinal cord, septicemia, wounds of diabetics, the decline in lumbar discs, among others.
From the point of view, the tissue engineering of interest but faces strict regulations. The development of a new molecule must go through a confirmation in vivo animal models. And the model is physiologically very different from humans. With the culture of human tissue, tests on the animal model would become unnecessary. The molecule then quickly prove its effectiveness.
Stem cells also provide lot of promises but they are discussed by ethics. The stem cell adapts to the environment in which it is located and it integrates perfectly. Its capabilities are very broad and open the door to development of new therapeutic agents.
Cellular systems will not immediately replace the animals. The scientific community estimates that between 5 and 7 years to accept and validate these cellular systems as alternative models to animal models.