New study highlights need to shift towards the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods


New study highlights need to shift towards the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods

25 July 2022

The European Commission, academia and animal protection organisations co-authored a study to identify challenges and put forward proposals to promote the use of non-animal ingredients in in vitro methods.

Non-animal methods are increasingly used in research and testing, but some of these methods still use animal-derived components. Cell- and tissue-based models routinely use, for example, coating materials, growth factors and antibodies that are derived from non-human animals. These animals can experience severe pain depending on the procedures they are subjected to. Besides the ethical concerns, the use and production of animal-derived components also raises many scientific issues, generally associated with the presence of undefined components and batch-to-batch variability, which may compromise the trustworthiness of the experimental results. However, non-animal components are becoming increasingly available, and their use is encouraged in EU legislation and in guidelines of the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Non-animal components include, for example, human cells, alternatives to animal sera or non-animal recombinant antibodies.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Oltre la Sperimentazione Animale, the Centre for Predictive Human Model Systems, Atal Incubation Centre-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, the Animal Welfare Academy of the German Animal Welfare Federation, and Eurogroup for Animals carried out a study that maps the current state of use of animal-derived ingredients across different sectors and identifies challenges hampering the large implementation and use of non-animal derived alternatives. In particular, the new article provides ideas to: increase awareness about non-animal products/ingredients; improve accessibility of reagents and protocols; and increase funding for the replacement of animal-derived components.