RADAR Software Can Substitute Animal Testing
"Right now, millions of mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other animals are locked inside barren cages in laboratories across the country. They languish in pain, suffer from extreme frustration, ache with loneliness, and long to be free." - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Experiments in living animals have been occurring for a long time, practiced since at least the 4th century. Medical training, drugs, food, cosmetics, and several other factors are the reasons for this practice, considered by many as cruel and inhumane. Moreover, animal testing is time-consuming, expensive and multiple times unreliable.
Luckily, technology may change that.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health created a software that can predict with great accuracy how high are the levels of chemicals' toxicity. The software is called Read-Across Structure Activity Relationships, or RADAR.
The researchers accomplished this by collecting information from a database of 10.000 chemicals used in 800.00 different tests. They found that this database contained 69 chemicals that were tested more than 45 times, usually by numerous companies.
Thomas Hartung, director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal testing, said: "There is enormous redundancy in this database - we found that often the same chemical has been tested dozens of times in the same way, such as putting it into rabbits' eyes to check if it's irritating."
RADAR proved its precision by predicting chemical toxicity with 87% more accuracy, compared with 81% in animal tests. The study was published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, and everything indicates that RASAR could dramatically reduce the use of animal testing.
Corporations dealing with chemical compounds such as pesticides can use RASAR when formulating new substances, without having to test each one of them. This alone can bring countless benefits since the production of a single pesticide requires 30 different animal tests costing around $20 million.
This method may also be used by technology companies to find potential toxic chemicals in their products.
In the future, it may be even possible to determine toxicity levels before synthesizing a new chemical, which can lead to the arrival of non-toxic compounds.
Keywords: animal testing, animal's rights, RADAR