Study Shows Use of Skin Cells Could Reduce the Need for Animal Testing

Skin Cells Reduce Animal TestingScotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are¬†creating human stem cells from skin cells to investigate diabetes and reduce the need for animal testing. These skin cells are collected from the school’s Skin Research Tissue Bank, which are donated by patients with Type II diabetes and critical limb ischemia. The three-year study was funded by Animal Free Research UK that aimed to develop human cell and tissue-based models as an alternative to animal experiments in studies related to diabetes. The researchers reprogrammed the donated human cells to grow tissue that mimics that of diabetes wounds. Now, they can test new diabetic ulcer drugs on newly grown tissue instead of animals. These reprogrammed stem cells can transform into many different types of cells needed in diabetes research. These include brain cells, nerve cells and blood vessel cells. It is crucial to develop more new drugs for the treatment of diabetes as the condition has become an epidemic in the United States, with about 1 million people over the age of 20 diagnosed with diabetes mellitus every year. About 17 million people in the U.S have this condition. In fact, a serious complication that diabetics may encounter is diabetic wounds that need immediate medical attention. Upon admission to a hospital or other healthcare facility, healthcare providers must evaluate the wound and document it in order to develop a good treatment plan that will aid in wound healing.

Woundcare EHR helps to share complete patient information with other health care providers, thus improving their ability to make well-informed treatment decisions quickly and safely.

Ann Graham, GCU Professor and the lead researcher of the study, says, “In UK, over 135 diabetes-related amputations are carried out each week and this is a growing problem. In fact, this work can inform research and help others who require access to human material for medical research.” The research also allowed scientists to develop new methods of producing human cell-based models to substitute experimentation on animals such as rodents. Typically, in diabetes research, strains of genetically modified mice and rats are bred specifically as they are thought to mimic diabetes in humans. In fact, using human tissue in the place of animal tissue provides a better understanding of how drugs interact with human cells. Utilization of human cells to facilitate high caliber diabetes research helps achieve better outcomes for human care and eliminate the need for animals to be used in medical research.

Advancements in the medical field that come as a result of serious and comprehensive research are always beneficial. Medical technology is also advancing at a high speed bringing innovations that improve the efficiency and quality of medical care. Many healthcare providers are now using electronic medical record software in the place of conventional wound documentation. Wound EMR is a great documentation tool that helps avoid inaccuracy, inconsistency and inefficiency that occur with manual documentation and enables clinicians to complete the documentation tasks quickly.