New study prioritises human-relevant methods and replacement of animal models
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Three Rs, aimed at promoting the 'Replacement' of animal use in science, the 'Reduction' of the number of animals used per experiment, and the 'Refinement' of experimental procedures to minimise suffering and improve welfare. These principles were first described in 1959 by the UK scientists Russell and Burch and have contributed considerably ever since to progressing humane research methods and excellence in science.
However, the 21st Century has already seen the development of a wide range of non-animal methods incorporating complex cell cultures, organs-on-a-chip and computer modelling. These methods are more relevant to human biology and are already enabling the replacement of animals as the default option in life science, particularly in the areas of toxicology and regulatory testing, but also in biomedical research.