Photo credit: TissUse
This sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie but we should be used to that, the way technology is developing. In London they are in the process of creating artificial micro-humans.

That translates to no need for animals in laboratory tests. Each year as many as 90 million animals die due to testing.

These little artificial humans are very small -- the size of a microchip. They will simulate the human response to things that have been inhaled or circulated through the bloodstream and absorbed in the gut. The prototypes were a artificial lung, liver kidney and a heart. They are already being used in different tests.

These small artificial human machines could begin to replace animal laboratories within a three-year time frame.

Assuming the tests are successful, researchers will still have to do a second round with animals to prove that the substances are safe when they interact in a living body. There is still another snag with the animals as almost half of drugs that pass the animal tests later cause unforeseen side effects during human trials.

The hope is that these small artificial human machines will eliminate drug tests that are not safe for humans and help expedite life saving treatments.

According to Uwe Marx, a tissue engineer from Technische Universitat Berlin and founder of TissUse, a firm developing the technology "If our system is approved by the regulators, then it will close down most of the animal-testing laboratories worldwide."

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