ALTERNATIVES TO ANIMAL TESTING
BY THE NUMBERS
Every year the Home office publishes Annual Statistics of scientific procedures on Living animals. In 2015, 4.14 million procedures were carried out on animals in Britain. (1)
Building an accurate worldwide figure for the number of animals used in experiments annually is fraught with difficulty. Not all countries that use animals record numbers and of those that do not all animals are included.
For example in the US mice, rats, birds, amphibians and reptiles are not included in the reported 2012 numbers of 1.1 million lab animals used. These excluded animals make up 95% of animals used in the EU meaning that the total number of animals being used in the US is estimated to be around 20 million per year. (2)
Taylor et al., in their 2008 paper estimated that a huge 115.3 million animals are used in animal testing worldwide annually, however this is still viewed to be an underestimate. (3)
Published online 11 June 2008 | Nature 453, 840-842 (2008) |doi:10.1038/453840a http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080611/full/453840a.html
THE FAILURE RATE
The long-standing ethical questions raised by animal testing have always been put to one side. Governments and scientists alike often justify animal testing as a necessity for scientific gain and as producing a greater good.
Current regulatory requirements to assess a molecule for medicinal use are focused around extensive animal testing, yet the rate of failure averages 87% and this at the cost of $379.9million per failure. (4)
This brings to the table the widely accepted estimates of The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, which are £1.15bn on average to get a drug to market. (5)
IMPROVING THE DRUG DISCOVERY PROCESS
Faced with this landscape, is animal testing something that the scientific community can still caution?
We don’t think so!
With the advent of alternative technologies there is ample room for alternatives to animal testing in order to improve the drug discovery process, the science and reducing the amount animal testing.
As Professor Thomas Hartung (CAAT, John hopkins University) memorably said: “Humans are not 70kg rats.” Indeed, if you look at the anatomy of a rat, a dog, a pig, a human and there will be similarities. The bloodstream connecting the organs together to create a living being. But look closer on the cellular and molecular level and the landscape is vastly different.”
With in vitro testing we are able to use human cells to test molecules with very few related ethical issues, simultaneously reducing the cost of drug discovery and increasing the relevance of results.
OUR ALTERNATIVE TO ANIMAL TESTING
Kirkstall is committed to installing our passion and eagerness for developing alternatives to animal testing into the mind-sets of researchers worldwide. In order to truly change the research landscape it is necessary to develop new technologies that can clearly demonstrate, with scientific data, their ability to better predict the impact a drug compound will have in the human body – enter Quasi Vivo®.
Our Quasi Vivo® flow chambers are a step towards bringing the systemic properties required by researchers currently using animals for research into the in vitro labs.
The Quasi Vivo® systems provide a significantly more human relevant research environment and enable the use of human cells/tissue slices in 2D or 3D constructs (scaffolds, gels or spheroids) in long term toxicology, mechanistic and metabolic studies.
It is in fighting this battle that we unite with key 3Rs leaders to bring alternatives to animal testing to the forefront of science, working with regulators, academia and industry to bring solutions to the wider scientific community.
Kirkstall is pleased to work with a number of charitable organisations who share our commitment to finding viable alternatives to animal testing and the shift towards more human relevant science;
Connecting experts from Europe and the U.S. to provide hands-on-training in human-relevant alternative methods and technologies for toxicologists.
An inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals. Working together, we will accelerate innovation and create positive change.
Changing researchers’ perspectives on animal replacement and in vitro testing through training combining of lectures, demonstrations and practical hands-on experience.
The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity. DHT fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.
(3) Taylor, K., Gordon, N., Langley, G., Higgins, W. Estimates for Worldwide Laboratory Animal Use in 2005. ATLA 36, 327–342, 2008
Commercially available and used in 70+ labs worldwide, getting started is easy and cost effective