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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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A Survey of Consumer Attitudes to the Supply and Use of Human Hepatocytes in the United Kingdom


Tom D.R. Lloyd, Samantha Orr and Ashley R. Dennison

Human hepatocytes are the model of choice for pharmacotoxicological studies, but their acquisition is often problematic due to ethical and logistical difficulties. The UK Human Tissue Bank is a not-for-profit organisation that acquires and processes human tissue, with a specialist interest in the isolation of human hepatocytes. A recent in-house survey of the processing of liver tissue over 1 year revealed that freshly isolated hepatocytes were underutilised due to mismatched consumer demand, despite the published need for them. We present the results of a telephone survey to investigate the reasons behind this paradox. This survey highlighted some problem areas, including “out of hours” availability of cells and personnel difficulties, but overall, demonstrated the value of such a service, with numerous researchers taking advantage of available good quality human hepatocytes. Although further work is required in optimising long-term storage protocols through cryopreservation, we have demonstrated that tissue handling of this type can be successful and beneficial to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.