By Sara García Bautista
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a German research group of 66 institutes and institutions, has thousands of highly qualified scientists and engineers. The solution studied by them is based on the development of mini-organisms inside a chip that allow to analyze the complex metabolic processes that take place within the human body. They have already developed various models, for example, a multi-organ chip with which researchers have been able to study the regeneration of certain kidney cells.
This means finding an alternative to the hitherto necessary evil of having to use animals in laboratory tests to test the efficacy and safety of drugs. It seemed difficult to find a substitute for experimentation, because to understand the effect of a substance, it is not enough to test it on isolated tissue or cell samples. Most drugs work systemically. That is to say, "the organism as a whole".
Many advances in science have depended on research and animal studies. It is estimated that between 50 and 100 million vertebrates are used worldwide to test different products, from drugs to cosmetics, before they can reach the market.
Mice, cats, dogs and monkeys have been and are the indisputable involuntary protagonists of the great scientific advances of the last decades. Although many others such as pigs, cows, sheep, reptiles and birds have also suffered our experiments. We inoculate viruses into animals, alter their genetic material, and kill mothers when they are pregnant to study their fetuses. We subject them to food deprivation or electric shocks to check their resistance, we burn them alive, we force them to ingest toxic substances, we cause them paralysis, we subject them to radiation, to extreme temperatures ... The list of experiments they are subjected to is endless . New substances are constantly emerging that will be tested in their bodies with the desire to verify their effects, certify new techniques and demonstrate certain hypotheses.
We certainly have a lot to thank you for. Research carried out with mice has not only allowed the study of cancer in people without risking human lives, they have also facilitated the development of fertility treatments and vaccines against influenza, polio, yellow fever and rabies, which It has drastically reduced the number of deaths due to these diseases. The fight against AIDS, one of the deadliest epidemics that humanity has suffered in recent decades, is another of the fronts on which the help of cats has been fundamental. Just as that of dogs has been in the realm of the heart. Thanks to the dogs, the researchers created the cardiorespiratory machine, the device that allows the patient to be kept alive while a cardiac surgery operation is performed.
Scientific advance is one of the bases of progress and brings great benefits, but this must have certain limits. Few would justify experimenting with humans against their will even if this meant great strides in the search for vaccines and cures. Some movements follow the same criteria with animals, to whom they are grateful for everything they have given us and therefore demand steps in favor of their rights.