Drugs breakthrough could cut animal testing

April 17, 1998

Scientists at Surrey University claim to have devised a technique that could revolutionise the development of safe new drugs and reduce animal testing. David Lewis of the school of biological sciences, is using a 3-D computer modelling system to test how drugs are broken down by the human liver within hours rather than the weeks taken using animals.

The breakthrough means drugs already in use can be redesigned to improve their absorption by the liver and the performance of new drugs can be predicted even while chemicals are still on the drawing board. Dr Lewis says the system also reduces the possibility of mistakes that can occur because of differences between species - drugs "tested safe" on animals can turn out to be disastrously "unsafe" in humans.

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