Future of human tissue research. By Dr David Bunton

Fresh, functional human tissues have long been considered the closest possible model of human in vivo function and can be used to measure a wide range of pharmacological responses. Despite this, relatively little drug development is conducted using fresh human tissue because of the logistical and ethical difficulties surrounding the availability of tissue and practicalities of experimental work. Most tests of drug activity require a living test system comprising cells, tissues or whole organisms. In some instances, ‘‘living’’ (fresh) human tissues have the potential to reduce or replace animal tests through superior prediction of drug safety and efficacy.

Before functional human tissue tests become a routine part of drug development, two factors must co-exist, namely, the evidence that fresh human tissue assays are a powerful way to predict drug activity and sufficient access to the fresh human tissues.

Biopta’s article in volume 12 of Cell and Tissue Banking discusses both of these factors and looks to the future of human tissue research.