Scientists Build Immune System in Test Tube

Breakthrough could make it easier, and safer, to test vaccines
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2008 3:09 PM CDT
Thanks to this breakthrough, researchers could now perform "clinical studies in a test tube."   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Scientists have discovered a way to produce tiny artificial human immune systems, Time reports, a breakthrough that could transform vaccine research. The process—called Modular Immune In Vitro Construct—will allow researchers to test budding medicines as never before and possibly make faster progress against AIDS and other killers. 

Researchers have long relied on animal vaccine testing, a controversial practice that doesn’t always work.“You can only extrapolate so much from a monkey,” explained one AIDS researcher, who said MIMIC has the potential to “revolutionize all of vaccinology.” Clinical trials conducted in test tubes also promise to be faster. “And with HIV, we don’t have a lot of time.”