Drug Discovery

    The Benefits of Human Tissue to Drug Discovery and Development

    Karen McAulay / 27 March 2018

    Progressive and innovative Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies ask themselves several key questions when it comes to Drug Discovery and Development:

    • How and where can we be research smarter? 
    • How can we reduce uncertainty? 
    • How can we better predict efficacy and safety? 
    • How can we reduce costs?

    One route to making the drug discovery process smarter and more efficient is to use human tissue at one or more stages in the development process.

    Why use Human Tissue?

    Recent analysis and review of the pharmaceutical industry suggests that it is still difficult to translate potential drug candidates into safe, effective medicines. Less than 10% of candidate drugs succeed in hurdling the many challenges of the pre-clinical and clinical phases to attain final approval for use in the clinic.


    Probability of Success

    Source: Clinical Development Success rates 2006-2015. BIO https://www.bio.org/ (PDF)


    Although the end target for a new medicine is man, the methods used to identify, develop, and validate a potential drug candidate have traditionally relied on non-human assays. The ability of such methods to predict efficacy and safety can be unreliable and not reflective of the human response.

    The use of human tissue derived data to validate or replace non-human methods can facilitate better interpretation of the data and enhance the decision-making process. This is important when one considers that the average cost of bringing a new drug to market is estimated to be around £2 billion.


    When to use Human Tissue?

    Human tissues, whether surgically resected and surplus to diagnostic requirements, donated post-mortem or donated viably, are available in a variety of formats for use in different applications. Human tissue assays can therefore be applied to all stages of the drug development process including:

      Disease Pathophysiology and Target Identification
      Target Validation
      Hit-to-Lead Identification
      Safety and Efficacy
      Stratified and Predictive Medicine

    Since most new drugs fail to reach the clinic, it is economically beneficial to identify failure as early in the process as possible and to re-direct resources to drug candidates with better potential: the "fail early, fail cheap" approach.




    The Best Approach to Human Tissue Use in Drug Discovery

    Obtaining and working with human tissue can often be challenging.

    Legal, ethical, logistical, and practical issues all need to be addressed to enable the procurement of ethically-consented, good-quality tissues at the exact time of need.


    Advantages of using a Human Tissue Provider

      Reduce Logistical Challenges
      Assistance with Regulatory and Ethical Processes
      Access to Global Tissue Sourcing
      Reduce use of Animal Tissue and Models


    These obstacles to accessing tissue can force researchers to continue with the more traditional routes of non-human assays for drug discovery and development.

    Procuring the expert services of a tissue provider is one solution to overcoming these obstacles.

    REPROCELL’s ethically-sourced human tissue network underpins our core business model: the provision of high-quality human tissues and assay services to support drug discovery and development.

    Through a combination of our extensive Biorepository (BioServe), Stem Cell Services and Predictive Drug Discovery Services, we provide the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry with a comprehensive solution to their human tissue research needs.

    With our help, human tissue research can be a reliable and valued component of the drug discovery process.

    Visit the REPROCELL website to explore our range of research tools and services!

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