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Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are hormone-like substances that can have undesirable effects on health. For example, chemicals can increase the risk of breast cancer if they act in a manner similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. Animal experiments are still required to detect the hormonal effects of chemical substances. A test has now been developed at the German Center for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) that tests the effects of hormones on cultured human cells.

The center is part of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). With the help of microscopy and artificial intelligence, the “E-Morph” test reliably identifies substances that can have estrogen-like or even opposing effects, according to the research team’s report in the specialist journal Environment International. “E-Morph is a milestone on the way to, one day, replacing animal experiments currently required to detect hormone-like effects,” says BfR President Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.

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