Introduction

A very broad range of approaches is available for the assay of the effects of drugs and chemicals. Historically, studies in the fields of toxicology and pharmacology have relied on the use of animals to provide safety data on potential toxicants and indications of drug efficacy and safety. The "3Rs" movement to refine, reduce and replace the use of animals in experimentation [1] has gathered momentum over a number of decades with strong international support [2, 3], and today the focus is on the development of alternative in-vitro techniques. However, the requirement for functional cell-based assays has maintained the need for tissue preparations which are used in a number of forms, including tissue pieces, organ slices, primary cell cultures, and primary cell reaggregates. Where such preparations remain the only scientific option to achieve necessary results, it is still possible to refine and reduce the use of animal and human sources of the tissue, for example by cryopreservation of primary cells for later use [4, 5]. Increasingly, cell-based assays that utilize human continuous cell lines are becoming established, and these provide significant improvements from ethical and standardization perspectives. Some of the key issues in using human cells and cell lines for laboratory testing are outlined in this chapter.

0 0

Post a comment