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Replace, Refine, Reduce:  The Humane Use of Animals in Research

By Alex Rosenberg / Dec 03, 2019
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Replacement, refinement and reduction are the three Rs (often referred to as the 3Rs) that animal regulatory oversight committees around the world abide by. These principles, created over fifty years ago, advocate for the humane use of animals in research. A key proponent behind the 3Rs is the UK’s NC3R, whose efforts have led to the creation of laws in the UK and around the world. NC3R’s mission is to focus on the scientific impacts and benefits of animal research while ensuring humane treatment for animals.

Let’s look closer at each of these important principles.

Replacement

BioIVT supports the replacement of animals in research by developing 3D cell-based models, such as ORGANDOT®. These models allow researchers to study functional aspects of compounds under physiological and pharmacological controls that capitulates the in vivo setting. The models also allow for the analysis of mediator release (such as cytokines, insulin or other molecules) and changes in gene expression or apoptosis.

Another alternative to animal research is cadaver or plastic surgery remnant skin, which can serve as a model for in vitro testing for validation of cosmetic and medical therapies. If a drug is absorbed properly through the skin, it can be used as a means of systemic medication. BioIVT delivers diverse human skin products from a variety of patient populations, all ethically collected.

Reduction

BioIVT helps its customers and partners reduce animals used in their research by supplying the right amount of biospecimens to meet their needs, ensuring there is no drastic surplus that will go to waste. Be it sera, urine or PBMCs, ensuring ethical and reliable access to human donor cohorts decreases the need for the maintenance of animal colonies around the world.

With comparison gene expression panels like XPRESSWAY® Profiles, researchers can determine the differences between target expression in human tissue and tissue from the species being used for studies. This can help researchers understand if an event in the animal model will translate to humans.

Refinement

Refinement aims to lessen animal suffering and improve the care of animals while they are being used for research. It is important to note that animal welfare can affect the results of a study, and therefore refinement’s impact extends beyond ethical considerations.

The 3Rs will continue to influence future studies, as laws and regulations regarding animal research become stricter. At BioIVT, we offer normal and diseased state human biospecimens from our FDA-registered and IRB-approved donor and collection centers, providing our customers with a wide variety of options for their research.

For more information on the 3R’s and the humane use of animals in research, please visit NC3R’s.

  1. AAALAC International. https://www.aaalac.org/about/index.cfm
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/laban.1217.pdf?draft=collection

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