Scientists of Fraunhofer EMFT aim to reduce the amount of animal testing with the help of novel nanosensors.
Countless mice, rats and rabbits die every year for the sake of science – and the number is rising. German labs tested approximately 2,41 million animals in 2005 for scientific research, in 2009 the number had already risen to 2,79 million. One third served biological basic research, the most needed for learning more about diseases and for developing medical products and equipment. People are demanding secure medicine and well-tolerated therapy, but nobody is prepared to accept animal testing. That is why scientists have been looking for alternative methods already for years. One alternative has been discovered by the scientists at Fraunhofer EMFT in Munich. They aim to reduce the amount of animal testing with the help of novel nanosensors. “We are testing the efficiency and potential risks of chemicals practically in test tubes. The method involves exposing living cells isolated from human and animal tissue to the substance under research,” Dr. Jennifer Schmidt from EMFT explains. If the substance is toxic for the cell in certain concentration, the cell dies. This change in “well-being” can be made visible using the sensor nano particles developed by Dr. Schmidt and her team.