Animal testing may soon be a thing of the past.
A new "multi-organ chip" could replace the need for animal testing, an industry that causes 100 million animals to suffer every year. The chip simulates a kind of "mini organ," mimicking metabolic processes in the human body.
Last year, the technology was awarded an animal safety research prize. Now, the Fraunhofer research institute has released details about exactly how it works.
"Our system is a mini-organism on a 1:100,000 scale to the human being," Dr. Frank Sonntag, one of the researchers, said in a release.
The new technology can even simulate the pumping of a human heart through tiny artificial blood vessels. It's also more accurate than animal testing, which can't always accurately predict the response of a human to a substance.
The mini organ could provide a welcome alternative to cosmetic and medical animal testing, which often keeps rabbits, guinea pigs, monkeys and dogs in small cages, and subjects them to painful experiments.
See this page for a database of products not tested on animals.