Human tissue is a critical component in the development of modern medicine. Pharmaceutical companies waste millions of dollars a year due to failed drug development. The research process calls for human tissue over animal samples because it is safer for participants during clinical trials and speeds the drug development process. It saves money and drug companies are willing to pay a high price for various types of cells, tissue and organs to expedite their research.
The development of Cystic Fibrosis treatment at Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ is an excellent example of how human tissue drug testing works. Scientists at the facility monitored the behavior of infected human lung tissue in petri dishes then injected cells with medicines to see how they reacted. One of the things they looked for was the movement of cilia following the treatment. None of this would have been possible without the use of human tissue.
In the United States, most human tissue used in research comes from donors who’ve provided consent and agreed to contribute to pharmaceutical development firms after they die. They come exclusively from hospitals, organ procurement organizations, tissue banks and other regulated sterile medical facilities. The demand from private and public research firms is endless but supply is finite and limited by nature.
Government money and tissue donations are helpful, but can’t cover the growing demand in the human tissue market. Biomedical entrepreneurs have sprung up over the last decade with private companies whose founders are adamant about legal compliance and ethical practices. Geneticist is happy to be a contributor in this expanding community and to participate in the global effort for more sustainable human existence.