New blood bank invention could help eliminate animal testing

Scientist working in a laboratory
Scientist working in a laboratoryalexrathsDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

A new invention from blood bank Sanquin means that the abolition of animal testing is one step closer. Sanquin developed a new test to see if medicines cause fever which uses donor blood instead of the current method of using rabbits. Currently 400 thousand rabbits die through this testing per year worldwide, including around 500 in the Netherlands, RTL Nieuws reports.

All medicines patients receive through an infusion must first be tested on whether they trigger a ever reaction. Sanquin's new test, the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT), optimally mimics the immune response that causes fever. 

The immune cells for the MAT are extracted from blood donated by donors specifically called for this. They donate blood early in the morning. Sanquin purifies the immune cells from the donor blood and prepares them for the test that same day. 

"You measure fever in a Petri dish", project leader Eelo Gitz said to RTL Nieuws. "The laboratory test uses a specific human immune cell. It becomes active if the medicine contains a fever agent. The new test therefore finds fever agents without laboratory animals."

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