Ingegneria tissutale nella sostituzione della sperimentazione animale

[Holmes A, Brown R, Shakesheff K. Engineering tissue alternatives to animals: applying tissue engineering to basic research and safety testing. Regen Med. 2009 Jul;4(4):579-92. doi: 10.2217/rme.09.26.]


The focus for the rapid progress in the field of tissue engineering has been the clinical potential of the technology to repair, replace, maintain or enhance the function of a particular tissue or organ. However, tissue engineering has much wider applicability in basic research and safety testing, which is often not recognized owing to the clinical focus of tissue engineers. Using examples from a recent National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council symposium, which brought together tissue engineers and scientists from other research communities, this review highlights the potential of tissue engineering to provide scientifically robust alternatives to animals to address basic research questions and improve drug and chemical development in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

[BéruBé K, Gibson C, Job C, Prytherch Z. Human lung tissue engineering: a critical tool for safer medicines. Cell Tissue Bank. 2011 Feb;12(1):11-3. doi: 10.1007/s10561-010-9204-6. Epub 2010 Sep 8.] 


In the field of human tissue-engineering, there has been a strong focus on the clinical aspects of the technology, i.e. repair, replace and enhance a given tissue/organ. However, much wider applications for tissue engineering (TE) exist outside of the clinic that are often not recognised, and include engineering more relevant models than animals in basic research and safety testing. Traditionally, research is initially conducted on animals or cell lines, both of which have their limitations. With regard to cell lines, they are usually transformed to enable indefinite proliferation. These immortalised cell lines provide the researcher with an almost limitless source of material. However, the pertinence of the data produced is now under scrutiny, with the suggestion that some historical cell lines may not be the cell type originally reported. By engineering normal, biomimetic (i.e. life-mimicking), human tissues with defined physiology (i.e. human tissue equivalents), the complex 3-dimensional (3-D) tissue/organ physiology is captured in vitro, providing the opportunity to directly replace the use of animals in research/testing with more relevant systems. Therefore, it is imperative that testing strategies using organotypic models are developed that can address the limitations of current animal and cellular models and thus improve drug development, enabling faster delivery of drugs which are safer, more effective and have fewer side effects in humans.


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