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NIH Official Predicts Radical Reduction in Animal Testing

Testing products using non-animal methods has “evolved to the point where it’s reproducible and scalable.”

Warren Casey, director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, predicts that within two years, testing on animals will dramatically decrease due to major scientific advancements in computer screening of chemical compounds. Casey, who was awarded the Society of Toxicology’s Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award, said that non-animal testing technology has now “evolved to the point where it’s reproducible and scalable. We just have to figure how to scale it up so everyone can use it.” Casey cites exciting developments such as the “human on a chip” that are leading the transition away from animal testing, which is less accurate, more expensive, and more labor-intensive than the new techniques. “It’s something I can get enthusiastic about,” Casey said, “because it’s really a better way of doing things.” Even the director of the NIH, Francis Collins, expects almost all testing on animals to end within 10 years.

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