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Arthritis Studies Animal Use Will Be Minimized Using In Vitro Models
edited by Joint-Pain-Forum.com
It's hard to think of scientists in laboratories working toward solutions for
medical problems without mice or other laboratory animals, but animals' roles in
at least one major research laboratory may soon be minimal.
at the University of Missouri-Columbia's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory
(COL) have developed an in vitro model using small sections of joint capsule and
cartilage typically discarded that mimics arthritic joints. This "joint in a
test tube" model can be used to investigate causes and mechanisms for the
development and progression of arthritis and to screen new treatments such as
pharmaceuticals. The MU research team which developed this model has shown that
the results have valid and direct clinical implications for arthritis in dogs
Often, clinical research is limited by patient numbers,
accessibility to appropriate samples and ethical considerations. Using in vitro
models eliminates some of these barriers and allows researchers to better
understand of the disease's development, characteristics and responses to
various injuries, treatments and loads. The in vitro model acts similar to an
actual joint with the same histological, biochemical and molecular changes.
www.Joint-Pain-Forum.com from original press release.
"These in vitro models will allow us to perform our research without using
animals while still accurately mimicking situations in real life," said James
Cook, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery and the William C. Allen
Endowed Scholar for Orthopaedic Research. "We can screen new drugs for arthritis
in a more efficient and cost-effective way such that real progress is achieved
The in vitro models allow for all of the tissue in a
normal joint to be "grown" together such that the different types of tissues can
"communicate" as they do in the actual joint. COL researchers have shown that
this system maintains the tissues' appearance, composition, and function so that
they react to health and disease as they would in real life. The system then
allows drugs, nutritional supplements and even exercise regimens to be tested on
the in vitro model.
For example, scientists can determine the effects of
pressure to the joints after running or walking using a bioreactor, a device
which loads the tissues in the "test tube" environment. Using this new model, MU
researchers will unlock clues, on a molecular level, as to why recovery is
important in healthy athletes as well as people with arthritis.
the joints in the test tubes will allow for greater flexibility when studying
arthritis," Cook said. "We can test literally hundreds of different loads on
joints in a single day and show results in real time. It is strengthening our
research as we are able to explain data on a molecular level and then translate
it to what happens to people and pets that struggle with arthritis every day.
"These in vitro models also provide a much safer mechanism for
investigating new drugs and therapies. If severe side effects occur, all we have
do is assess what has happened to the tissues rather than trying to treat a
laboratory animal or a patient with an adverse reaction."
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