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.
The JRC's EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) has launched a study to review alternative methods and models being used for research in the areas of Respiratory Tract Diseases and Neurodegenerative Disorders.
The aim of the study is to identify and describe specific research contexts where animal models have been put aside in favour of novel non-animal techniques that employ, 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 methods 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, more than 60% 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 studies 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.
The review is expected to be completed during 2019 and the information gathered will be made publicly available.
Please contact us if you are aware of non-animal models and methods being used in research on respiratory tract diseases or neurodegenerative disorders that should be included in our review!