Why are human tissues increasingly being used in drug development?
Despite record levels of investment, most drugs (80-90%) fail in clinical trials. New ways to predict which drugs will succeed are urgently required and there can be no more relevant model than fresh intact human tissues.
Fresh, functional human tissues are the closest possible model of how drugs will behave in patients. The above image shows human heart tissues that can be used to investigate new drugs to treat heart failure or to explore potential side-effects that may place stress on the heart. The image on the right shows an isolated strip of beating cardiac muscle to which potential new drugs can be added; the force of contraction is measured in real time and any effects of the drugs are recorded.
What sources of human tissues are available for preclinical research?
Three main sources of human tissue are typically used in drug development:
- Tissues residual to surgery: tissues not required for diagnosis or which are generated by cosmetic procedures can be accessed rapidly and stored as fresh, fixed or frozen tissues.
- Tissues and organs from transplant procedures: organ donation rightly takes precedence over research; however, many organs cannot be used in a transplant procedure and may be consented for use in medical research.
- Clinical biopsies, ethically obtained from specific patient groups, for example, patients with psoriasis or atopic dermatis.
Can Biopta manage procurement, ethics and logistics for my human tissue research projects?
Yes, Biopta has developed an extensive network of tissue collaborators and is accredited as a Research Tissue Bank. Biopta has been conducting such studies since 2002 using only approved clinical collaborators in the UK and USA, giving you complete confidence in all aspects of the research programmes.