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Lab-grown lungs in toxicology testing?

Lung organoids

Scientists in the UK have developed human lung organoids that can mimic the responses of a living person to nanomaterial exposure, potentially replacing the use of animals in some chemical safety testing.

Carbon-based nanomaterials are very versatile and have numerous applications in batteries, sports equipment, body armour, vehicles, etc. However, it is not yet known how exposure to these easily absorbed materials affects human health.

Previously research in mice showed that exposure to a type of carbon-based nanomaterial, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), led to lung inflammation and irreversible tissue scarring.

Researchers from EARA member, the University of Manchester used lung organoids (pictured), produced from human stem cells, to study the effects of MWCNT and the results mirrored the negative effects on lung health shown in the animal studies.

Sandra Vranic, lead researcher at Manchester, added: "With further validation, prolonged exposure, and the incorporation of an immune component, human lung organoids could greatly reduce the need for animals used in nanotoxicology research."

The study was published in nanotoday.


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