3Rs news

3Rs news from Switzerland and abroad

Nitrogen gas less aversive during euthanasia compared with carbon dioxide, study shows

Researchers at the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and Animal Park Goldau showed that nitrogen gas produced lower behavioural activity and electrophysiological reactions during euthanasia compared to carbon dioxide. Nitrogen may be less aversive than carbon dioxide, although it may still cause some degree of fear response, they found. The study also demonstrated that rapid-fill carbon dioxide causes less aversive behavior than slow fill. Researchers are trying to find more suitable euthanasia agents than carbon dioxide for mice. Carbon dioxide, the most widely used euthanasia agent, is fast-acting, cheap and easily available, but it may cause distress and anxiety.
More info: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210818

EURL ECVAM publishes 2018 report with overview of activities

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) published its 2018 report giving an overview on the development, validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods and approaches to test chemicals for adverse effects on human health and the environment. It outlines how researchers increasingly use in vitro and in silico methods to predict the toxicological properties of a chemical using read-across approaches, filling data gaps based on data from a similar chemical that has already been tested. The report also states that “the use of alternative methods alone to fully characterise complex toxicological properties of chemicals, such as chronic systemic health effects, remains a formidable challenge”.
More info: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/finding-alternatives-animal-testing-going-win-win-win

RSPCA, LASA, LAVA, IAT publish report on workshop discussing mortality

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA), the Laboratory Animals Veterinary Association (LAVA) and the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) published a report about the outcomes of a workshop that addressed how to reduce mortality in animal research and testing. The authors made a list of recommendations that would further help avoid mortality, and action points for scientists, animal technologists, veterinarians, regulators and members of ethics and/or animal care and use committees. They for example discuss the challenge of interpreting indicators of impending mortality in aged animals, and the harms and benefits of increasing surveillance as this might cause additional distress. The main suggestions are that researchers should review welfare assessment, undertake pilot studies, improve staff training, data and record mining, and review and challenge regulatory requirements.
More info: https://view.pagetiger.com/RSPCAAvoidingMortalityResearchReport/RSPCA/PDF.pdf

Non-animal 3D models grafted with brain cancer cells may pave way for new cancer drugs

In collaboration with surgeons from the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins researchers from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) used mini-brains grafted with patients’ tumour cells to speed up evaluations of tumorous and healthy brain tissues. CAAT scientists used induced pluripotent stem cells, which can form any tissue of the human body, from a piece of a patient’s skin to create brain spheres. They have used these organoids to predict a clinical response to the chemotherapy agent and to show how effective the drugs are in killing tumour cells. The findings pave the way for the discovery of more targeted brain cancer therapies.
More info: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-38130-0

U.S. NTP request input on assays to evaluate chemical effects on cancer pathways

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH) in the United States is seeking input on assays and approaches for evaluating chemical effects on cancer pathways, specifically, pathways that map to the hallmarks of cancer and key characteristics of carcinogens. With the input, the NTP wants to build a framework for incorporating mechanistic data into cancer risk assessment, develop efficient and reliable screening tools to detect the carcinogenic potential of environmental chemicals (including mixtures), engineer safer products, and design more effective multi-target therapeutics. 
More info: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/events/webinars-workshops/2019/coc/index2.html

Metabolomics experts describe steps to address quality challenges

Researchers describe here the first development steps and priority objectives of a community engagement effort to address current challenges in quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) in untargeted metabolomic studies. Based on a survey their recommendations include education of the metabolomics community, development of appropriate standard reference materials and incentives for laboratories to apply QA and QC. The authors also held a two-day think tank and have plans to set up a Metabolomics Quality Assurance and Quality Control Consortium (mQACC) to drive forward developments in a coordinated manner.
More info: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11306-018-1460-7

3RCC publishes press release on 3Rs survey in Switzerland

The press release published on 23 December 2018 presented some top-line results of a survey conducted among researchers working with and/or having an interest in alternatives to animal testing in Switzerland. It showed that they are committed to applying the so-called 3Rs principle because they are concerned about animal welfare and because they want to improve the scientific quality of their research, whereas legal requirements are not their main motivation. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/2018/05/18/442/

Save the date: 3RCC to organise Swiss 3Rs Day on 2 September 2019

The 3RCC will organise the one-day 3Rs event on 2 September 2019 at the Hotel Kreuz in Bern. The event commemorates the 60 years of the 3Rs principles published by Russel and Burch in 1959 with the book “The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique”. It will offer lectures and presentations of recent research in each of the 3Rs. You will find more information about the event on the website in due course. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/category/education