Prince Charles officially opened AstraZeneca’s Cambridge hub. He said that the new hub will lead in growing functional human organ tissues and will help save millions of lives. “untold millions of people”
Vaccine heroes at AstraZeneca have launched a new £1 billion research centre in Britain they say could help end animal testing.
Prince Charles officially opened the pharmaceutical giant’s new hub in Cambridge and said its research in to new medicines will “save the lives of untold millions of people”.
The pharmaceutical giant will develop new methods to grow functioning organ tissues in human bodies, such as hearts, kidneys, and functioning lung cell.
Drugs are currently being tested on thousands of animals in Britain, mainly rodents. They usually require that the animal be killed.
The firm mass produced the Oxford University vaccine that was the main driver behind Britain’s quick rollout of Covid-19 jabs without profit and has vaccinated more poorer countries than any other.
The Prince of Wales, who attended university in Cambridge, stated: “Throughout the pandemic I have greatly admired the dedicate commitment of Pascal [Soriot, chief executive] and the entire AstraZeneca team.
“You have developed and delivered a vaccine for the world in a remarkably short timescale which will continue to have a positive impact on communities and society for years to come.
“I must say it has been absolutely fascinating to see at least some of the work that takes place inside this centre and to think that, supported by interactions across the city and beyond, it will ultimately enhance and save the lives of untold millions of people around the world in the years and decades to come.”
AstraZeneca expands into research and even grows tiny human organs in the laboratory so that drugs can tested on them.
The new Discovery Centre, located in Cambridge, will house 2,400 scientists. It will also be one of Europe’s major research hubs.
It will lead the way to a new paradigm. ‘heart in a jar’Technology that allows for the growth of a beating heart in a lab, and potentially testing new drugs.
Human-engineered 1mm beating hearts can be used to test drugs for various conditions such as depression.
Similar human ‘organoids’Will grow cells that replicate the functions of human lungs and kidneys.
Its organ-on a-chip technology allows for the creation of 3D structures in bone marrow cells. This will speed up the development and testing of new medicines.
In order to ensure safety, new experimental drugs are tested on animals during the early stages before they are tested on humans.
Stefan Platz, AstraZeneca’s senior vice president for safety, spoke to the Mirror. “Everyone would like to get to a position where at some stage we have enough confidence that no animal models will be needed.
“This is a position that we should make some effort to get to for society.
“In order to get there predictive in-vitro models will play a really fundamental role.”
The Anglo-Swedish firm’s other research and development hubs are in Gothemburg and the US.
Its Cambridge centre’s disc-like structure has 174 boreholes to provide natural geothermal energy, four cooling towers and a ground source heat pump that will save enough energy to power 2,500 homes.
Prince Charles said: “If I may say so, I am also greatly heartened by the focus on sustainability which is clearly in this company’s DNA.
“From the lab to the patient, you are embedding innovation in everything you do, in order to improve human, as well as planetary health.
“Your mission to deliver net zero healthcare via the latest technologies, renewable alternatives and a circular approach, is one from which many within and outside of your sector can learn.”