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‘Desktop human’ could reduce dependency on animal drug tests

26
Mar
2014

Researchers are continuously finding new ways to test pharmaceuticals, and one group might be close to developing a miniature, artificial human body. Senior scientist Rashi Iyer from Los Alamos National Laboratory and a team of researchers is close to finishing development on ATHENA, or the Advanced Tissue-engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer, which acts as a small, replicated body for toxicity tests. The five-year, $19 million effort wants to provide an alternative to animal drug tests by using surrogate organs and mass spectrometry technologies to screen how new drugs could affect the human body. ATHENA is currently made of a synthetic liver, heart, lung, and kidney, all of which are about the size of a smartphone screen and work like human organs.

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