Only on 7: Maryland scientific team's breakthrough could end animal testing

Dr. Harry Salem

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A discovery in Maryland could lead to the end of decades of controversial testing on animals.

The team of local scientists made the breakthrough while working on another project. ABC7 talked exclusively with the 84-year-old doctor who is leading the way about how it could change lives.

Testing on animals could be history by the end of the decade, thanks to potentially breakthrough science by a team looking for ways to treat exposure to chemical weapons inside the US. Army Lab at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The team is using adult stem cells that can grow into cells from just about any of the body's organs, which they believe will allow them to more accurately and more quickly test effects of a toxin or a drug--potentially any substance--on a person, eliminating the need for animal subjects.

Dr. Harry Salem, 84, is the Chief of Life Sciences and over the years he has had a hand in developing the breathalyzer, contact lenses, even Nyquil. And now stem cells.

Salem hopes to start seeing a dramatic reduction in animal testing within 5 years. And he says he expects to be working in his lab when it happens.