We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
EURL ECVAM has launched a series of studies to review available and emerging non-animal models being used for research in seven disease areas:
The aim is to identify and describe specific research contexts where animal models have been put aside in favour of novel non-animal techniques that use, for example, in vitro methods based on human cells and engineered tissues or in silico approaches employing computer modelling and simulation.
The expectation is that by understanding and sharing information on successful use-cases of alternative models in biomedical research, the transition towards non-animal approaches can be better facilitated and potentially accelerated.
According to the last report on the use of animals for scientific purposes in EU Member States, about 70% of animals were used for research and development in the fields of human and veterinary medicine and in biological studies of a fundamental nature.
Encouraging the uptake of alternative methods is important therefore to tackle such considerable reliance on animal experiments for carrying out research. Moreover, since alternative methods offer the promise of recapitulating human physiology more effectively than many animal models, shifting to new animal-free methodologies and research strategies can in fact enhance the understanding of human-specific biology and disease.