3Rs Information - Alternatives

Galleria mellonella - a novel infection model for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex

A study has reported that the larvae of the wax moth Galleria mellonella, can be used as a novel model for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. This can potentially be used as a replacement to certain vertebrate models of the disease. This research was partially funded by an NC3Rs PhD scholarship.


Production of human blood vessel organoids

Scientists have for the first time grown functioning human blood vessel organoids from stem cells in the lab. The results from this study have been published in Nature and offers researchers the possibility of studying vascular disorders in a non-animal alternative model.


EURL ECVAM status report on alternative approaches

EURL ECVAM (the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing) regularly publishes reports providing an update on the development, validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods/approaches. The latest version – the EURL ECVAM Status Report 2017 – provides an update on the development, validation, dissemination and regulatory acceptance of alternative approaches, building on the last status report published in November 2016. Among the topics featured in the report, the reader can find information on research and development projects, test method submissions, validation studies, peer reviews, EURL ECVAM recommendations, test guidelines and guidance documents, and a range of initiatives to share information on alternatives and promote their acceptance and use across the globe.


Cell-based assay for botulinum neurotoxin Type B

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed a new cell-based assay to test the quality and safety of pharmaceutical botulinum neurotoxin without the use of animals. Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are produced by Clostridium bacteria and are used by healthcare professionals to treat neuromuscular spasms. However, before going out to the clinic, each batch of BoNTs undergoes rigorous potency, quality and safety testing. This most commonly involves a mouse lethality assay (LD50 test). The researchers, in collaboration with the NC3Rs, have developed an alternative in vitro immunoassay to test BoNT Serotype B. The researchers showed that the new test is more sensitive than the mouse bioassay. Such developments are very welcome and it is important that all parties involved work towards the adoption of such alternative methods to significantly reduce the number of animals used in these types of assays.


European Commission conference: ‘Non-animal approaches – the way forward’

The European Commission held an engaging scientific conference in December of 2016 on alternatives to animal testing. We recommend viewing the website which contains links to the conference report, as well as the presentations and video recordings.


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