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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 09:10 GMT
Grant funds non-animal testing
Lit cigarette
Dr Gray is using non-animal testing methods to look at lung irritants
A Bristol scientist has been awarded a grant for research into alternatives to animal-testing.

Dr Alison Gray of the University of the West of England is an expert in the use of cell culture.

The technology uses laboratory-grown tissue to examine reactions to toxic chemicals.

The grant from the Fund for Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments will be used for her research into lung irritants like smoke and asbestors.

New methods

Dr Gray said: "The use of alternatives to animals in biomedicine is an important area of research in academia and industry.

"We are committed at UWE to developing alternatives and have already established novel models for testing new drugs on liver and brain that should avoid any need for industry to use live animals in testing. "

Already, the Draize test, in which chemicals were put directly onto the skin of live rabbits, has been replaced using commercially available human skin models.

Airways model

Dr Gray will use her three-year fellowship from FRAME, to progress her current research on the development of an airways model.

She added: "My own research uses a technique that I developed during my PhD, to identify toxic compounds, such as those present in tobacco smoke, asbestos and other irritants, that induce a precancerous condition termed Squamous Metaplasia.

"This should eliminate problems of species variation experienced by other researchers working on rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other species.

"The new test should be cheaper, less time consuming and more relevant to predicting toxicity in humans."

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