Artificial humans are set to replace the controversial technique of animal testing, scientists have claimed.
The micro-chipped human machines due to be available in three years time will remove the need for experiments that claim the lives of up to 90 million animals each year, according to the Sunday Times.
Artificial organs such as lungs, liver, and kidneys are already being used to test cosmetics, chemicals and drugs.
"If our system is approved by the regulators, then it will close down most of the animal-testing laboratories worldwide," said Uwe Markx – a tissue engineer from Technische Universitat Berlin and founder of TissUse, a firm behind the technology.
Marx anticipated human farms could be made up of hundreds of machines.
Factory-made body parts
Scientists from Harvard University are already developing a five-organ version to test conditions such as asthma.
"We are replacing animal testing right now," said Geraldine Hamilton, senior staff scientist at the university's Wyss Institute.
"These systems allow a much greater understanding of the mechanisms of the human body and give us insights that are not possible with animal studies."
The 'organ farms' will replace routine animal tests as well as complex diabetes experiments on monkeys, but 20% of animal testing will continue on conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and hip-replacement therapy.
More than 4 million animals were used in laboratory testing in Britain last year and 115 million animals worldwide.
The development of human-testing machines with cosmetic companies has been prompted since animal testing was banned on cosmetics in Europe and north America.