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The Shifting Terrain of Scientific Testing

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

The credibility and relevance of animal-based experimentation as a human-relevant predictive method has been questioned for a long time, and has lately reached a deep impasse. In the last decade more efficient and cost-effective approaches, enabled by new technologies, have been emerging & booming. Nonetheless, progress is hampered by the complexity of considerations on the topic. For one, there are many stakeholders - the scientific community, regulatory authorities, developers and the public opinion - which remain to be consulted and aligned on a compromise proposal regarding the performance requirements and criteria for implementation of the new risk assessment methodologies and different testing strategies to replace methods based on laboratory animals.

Animal testing has been delivering disappointing results

The use of laboratory animals as a dominant method for generating data, and consequently drawing conclusions on the safety of medicines, foods, and beauty products has been around since Ancient Greece. However, what is commonly seen are poor results in terms of predictivity of the effectiveness of drugs for human diseases. More than 90% of evaluated drugs never reach the market and with significant patient morbidity of up to 1% of already approved drugs. In fact, 95 out of every 100 drugs that were identified as “safe” in animal studies fail in clinical testing. There is little correlation between animals and humans and even more so between different animal species This underscores to what limited degree animal models are predictive of humans. On average, it takes about a decade and millions of dollars to develop a new drug. A substantial part of these resources is due to tests on animals in particular. As such, replacing animal models with new and upcoming alternatives is not just an ethical question, it is also a matter of improving research efficiency, reliability and outcome predictability.

The change we need

Developing and validating new testing models is a challenge for the scientific community requiring creativity and transformational innovation. Following the signing of the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness (2012), our perception and behavior toward animal testing changed. Many eminent scientists had shown irrefutable scientific evidence that animals are self-aware, emotional creatures, in similar ways like humans. Today, governments encourage the development of non-animal testing platforms and forbid animal use when other options are available.

These changes in the law pushed innovation efforts towards the replacement of animal models. These new rising technologies quickly confirmed that when animals are not used in the development of products, the companies save money and obtain more reliable data in a shorter period of time.

We anticipate that this transformation will bring more sophisticated and more accurate tools, such as advanced in vitro platforms coupled to AI & ML capabilities, to get reliable, evidence-based medicine and consumer products.

Today, we strongly believe that replacing animal testing is the natural next step in the evolution of modern science.

Creating an environment that resembles human physiology

Organotypic 3D cell cultures and human skin explants are typically used for in vitro skin safety & efficacy assays, they are a great step to move away from animal testing Unfortunately they still come with certain limitations.

These 3D models are cultured in tissue culture inserts under static, inefficient, non-physiological conditions, which makes them very difficult to be made compatible with automated in vitro assays.

Using unique 4D organ-on-a-chip approach to deliver better & faster results

With the aim to overcome these limitations we created a 4D microfluidic system that enables us to generate more reliable and faster data on new drugs, cosmetic and chemical ingredients.

The breakthrough of Revivo’s technology is that it simulates blood circulation under 3D reconstructed skin and under skin explants. This creates a dynamic environment closer to real skin conditions. It provides a continuous flow of media that brings fresh nutrients and removes metabolic waste products, similar to the role of blood vessels in the native human skin. The movement of media also enables a more realistic exchange of molecules & bioactives between the skin layers and the media.

The blood flow simulation additionally allows us to create more realistic 3D skin models in terms of morphology, differentiation and viability when compared to static cultures.


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