3Rs news

3Rs news from Switzerland and abroad

Educational Programme at Bachelor Level on 3Rs

The 3RCC recommends that a first course dedicated to the 3Rs principle should be part of the core courses at the Bachelor level of Swiss universities. This recommendation is the outcome of a survey conducted on currently existing educational programmes in Switzerland, and based on the outcome of the survey conducted in fall 2018 on gaps and opportunities for implementing the 3Rs in Switzerland. The courses could for example be part of the core courses at the Bachelor level in life sciences, bioengineering, medical, veterinary, environment, agricultural sciences and pharmacy. During the courses, students will acquire knowledge on the 3Rs and ethical principles, Swiss animal welfare legislation, ethical responsibility and scientific rigour as well as have examples of refinement, reduction and replacement methodologies. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/category/education/

U.S. researchers develop algorithm to test toxicity of chemicals without animals

Toxicity testing – or determining the amount of exposure to a chemical that is unsafe for humans – is vital to the safety of millions of workers in various industries. Animal testing, in addition to its ethical concerns, can be too costly and time consuming to test the safety of the thousands of compounds available, according to the authors of a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. They developed a low-cost, high-speed algorithm computational method to automatically extract useful bioassay data from a public repository (i.e., PubChem) and assess its ability to predict animal toxicity using a novel bioprofile-based read-across approach. The in vitro bioassay data-driven profiling strategy developed meets the needs of computational toxicology in the current big data era and can be extended to develop predictive models for other complex toxicity endpoints. More info: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP3614

Japanese researchers create a vascularised 3D model of human oral mucosa

A team of researchers from Japan used a layer-by-layer cell coating technique to develop a 3D model to study human oral mucosa in the lab. According to the authors, this new model is a promising alternative to animal testing and brings new possibilities to the field of regenerative medicine. In the study published in the journal Tissue Engineering the authors describe how they created a lamina propria equivalent – made up of human oral mucosa fibroblasts in extracellular matrix. They seeded keratinised or non-keratinised epithelial cells onto this construct and in some models included human umbilical vein endothelial cells to create blood vessels.  The authors showed that their models displayed appropriate features of native human tissue. More info: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ten.TEC.2018.0337

BioMed21 researchers review animal models in Parkinson’s disease

Members of the BioMed21 Collaboration published a review on the progress and limitations of the multiple animal models available in Parkinson’s disease in the journal Drug Discovery Today. The authors identified advances that could be implemented to better understand pathological processes, improve disease outcome, and reduce dependence on animal models. Despite 200 years since the first description of Parkinson’s disease, the mechanisms behind initiation and progression of the characteristic neurodegenerative processes are not yet fully understood. Furthermore, no significant new drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease have been developed over the last 50 years, suggesting that decades of animal research have failed to create an accurate model of disease pathology. The authors propose to focus on human cells, tissues and subjects to address gaps in understanding the disease. Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) studies can for example reveal the impact of genetic and environmental risk factors, according to the authors. Leveraging existing pathways-based information may lead to early treatment and/or prevention of the disease. The authors also suggest that advances in computer modelling can enable predicting drug safety and efficacy. The lessons learned from reducing animal use in Parkinson’s disease research could then serve as guideposts for wider biomedical research, the authors conclude. More info:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359644618301442?via%3Dihub

Submission of manuscripts open for special 3Rs issue of journal Animals

The journal Animals is planning to publish a special issue dedicated to 60 years of the 3Rs and their impact on animal welfare. The editors invite authors to submit manuscripts on any aspect of the 3Rs, related to any research field or species until 30 September 2019. These may include papers describing current good-practice and/or evaluation studies, as well as commentaries and opinion pieces that review the impact 3Rs have had in specific areas, or taking a forward look. Submissions relating to the ethical implications of the 3Rs, as well as concepts such as the culture of care, are also welcome. More info:
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/animals/special_issues/Three_Rs_Animal_Welfare

3RCC Biostatistician Task Force holds first meeting

The 3RCC is currently setting up a nationwide biostatistician task force, which aims to exchange and coordinate support for academic researchers at Swiss institutes of higher education in areas of experimental design, data analysis and reporting related to animal experimentation and/or alternatives to animal experimentation. A first kickoff meeting took place on 3 June at the University of Bern. The task force first plans to define the key problem areas in experimental design, statistical analysis and reporting of experimental animal research results in Switzerland. At a next step, it will develop a strategy how to best support researchers conducing animal experiments in Switzerland. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/2019/01/01/442/

Abstract submission for Swiss 3Rs Day scheduled to open on 7 June 2019

The abstract submission for the one-day conference dedicated to the 3Rs on 2 September 2019 at the Hotel Kreuz in Bern will be open from 7 June to 15 July 2019 at 23:59 CET. You will find more information on the abstract submission on the conference website over the coming days. The conference takes place at the occasion of the 60 years of the 3Rs principles published by Russel and Burch in 1959. It will offer invited lectures and presentations of recent research in each of the 3Rs, a debate about non-animal affinity reagents to replace conventional animal-derived monoclonal antibody production methods and a keynote lecture about alternatives for educational purposes. More info about the scientific programme of the event: https://swiss3rcc.org/category/education

Preliminary programme of Swiss 3Rs Day on 2 September 2019 online

The 3RCC will organise a one-day conference dedicated to the 3Rs 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 presentations of recent research in each of the 3Rs as well as a debate about non-animal affinity reagents to replace conventional animal-derived monoclonal antibody production methods and a keynote lecture about alternatives for educational purposes. More info: https://swiss3rcc.org/category/education

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 under 3RCC activities & 3Rs resources https://swiss3rcc.org/2019/01/01/442/

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