ATLA 41.4, September 2013

//ATLA 41.4, September 2013

Editorial: Transparency and Public Accountability on the Use of Non-Human Primates as Laboratory Animals Needs Actions, as Well as Words

Michael Balls

Living up to the promise of greater openness in the application of Directive 2010/63/EU will be very demanding, given the conclusions of an analysis of publicly-available information on NHP use in EU FP7-funded projects.
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News & Views

ATLA staff writer

Hair Follicle In Vitro Model

Inner Ear Cell Culture

iPSCs Aid the Development of a Human Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Model

Stem Cell Biobank Launched in the UK

Zebrafish Larvae Used to Study Methylmercury Toxicity

Human Studies on Schizophrenia

Human In Vivo Database Now on ACuteTox Home Page

Second Edition of the EURL ECVAM Search Guide Published

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2017-01-09T06:38:59+00:00 Tags: |

IIVS News & Views


Industry Council Formed to Advance Regulatory Acceptance of Nonanimal Testing Methods

Cruelty Free International (CFI) Supports IIVS to Introduce Alternative Testing Methods to Vietnam

Workshop Report ‘Inhalation Toxicity: Pathways to Better Methods’

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2017-01-09T06:38:59+00:00 Tags: |

An Opportunity to Refocus on the ‘Humane’ in Experimental Endpoints: Moving Beyond Directive 2010/63/EU

Vanessa Ashall and Kate Millar

Humane endpoints are a core refinement concept in animal experimentation. This paper identifies an urgent requirement for individuals and institutions to refocus on humane endpoints as part of the transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU into the national laws of the Member States, and to go beyond their legal construction when setting new guidance or applying humane endpoints in practice. It will be argued that requirements for humane endpoints within the Directive appear not to promote recent advances in best practice, but seem reliant on a narrow and potentially outdated definition of the term. We describe progress that has been made in encouraging change in the construction and application of humane endpoints, and suggest that Directive 2010/63/EU does not sufficiently acknowledge the conceptual complexity of this refinement strategy. For example, a useful development representing recent consensual views of best practice has been proposed by an EU consortium (in 2012). A complex approach to humane endpoints may place additional demands on institutions and raise challenges that would, unfortunately, not need to be overcome in order to remain within the Directive’s current requirements regarding humane endpoints.

We argue that there is now a need for a practical tool to help structure appropriate ethical reflection during research planning and experimentation, in order to facilitate best practice in the application of this important refinement concept.

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Dorothy Hegarty Award Winners 2012

ATLA staff writer

The Dorothy Hegarty Award for the best article published in ATLA volume 40, 2012, has been won by Uwe Marx, Silke Hoffmann, Gerd Lindner, Reyk Horland and Roland Lauster (Department of Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany), Heike Walles (Universität Würzburg, Germany), Frank Sonntag and Udo Klotzbach (Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS, Dresden, Germany), Dmitry Sakharov (SRC Bioclinicum, Moscow, Russia), and Alexander Tonevitsky (Moscow State University, Russia). Their paper, ‘Human-on-a-chip’ developments: A translational cutting-edge alternative to systemic safety assessment and efficiency evaluation of substances in laboratory animals and man?’, appeared in ATLA 40, pp. 235–257.

The Award is presented annually to the author(s) of the paper published in the previous year’s volume of FRAME’s scientific journal, ATLA, which, in the opinion of the members of the Editorial Board, is likely to make the most significant contribution to the reduction, refinement and/or replacement of animal experimentation.

Each member of the ATLA Editorial Board is entitled to make up to five nominations for the Award, in rank order. As in previous years, a large variety of papers were nominated, reflecting the diversity of the work published in ATLA, and the wide range of interests of the members of the Editorial Board. Manfred Liebsch, of the ATLA editorial Board, nominated the Marx et al. paper because he felt that it was a “breath-taking vision supported by facts stemming from labs of the authors. It shows the direction in which full animal test replacement methods have to go, to be able to fully replace complex animal tests by complex models of human-based micro systems.”

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Development of a Vessel Organ Culture System: Characterisation of the Method and Implications for the Reduction of Animal Experiments

Andrea Zaniboni, Augusta Zannoni, Chiara Bernardini, Marco De Cecco, Cristiano Bombardi, Eraldo Seren, Monica Forni and Maria L. Bacci

In the field of cardiovascular research, the pig is considered to be an excellent animal model of human diseases. It is well-known that primary cultures of endothelial cells (ECs) are a powerful tool for the study of vascular physiology and pathology, and, according to the principles of the Three Rs, their use results in a substantial reduction in the numbers of experimental animals required. However, a limitation of EC culture is that the cells are not in their physiological context. Here, we describe and characterise a method for the culture of porcine vessels that overcomes the limitation of EC cultures, with the advantage of reducing the number of animals used for research purposes. The organ cultures were set-up by using an aortic cylinder obtained from the arteries of control pigs sacrificed for other experimental purposes. In order to characterise the method, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activation and the vessel’s structural features were evaluated during organ culture. These analyses confirm that the culture of aortic cylinder lumen, in a medium specific for ECs, results in a stable system in terms of VEGF and MMP secretion. The ECs do not undergo cell division during the organ culture, which is also the case in vivo, if no stimulation occurs. Overall, we show that this novel system closely resembles the in vivo context. Importantly, porcine aortas can be collected from either veterinary surgeries or slaughterhouses, without having to sacrifice animals specifically for the purposes of this type of research.

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Ethical Review of Projects Involving Non-human Primates Funded Under the European Union’s 7th Research Framework Programme

Ursula G. Sauer, Barry Phillips, Kirsty Reid, Véronique Schmit and Maggy Jennings

Internet searches were performed on projects involving non-human primates (‘primates’) funded under the European Union (EU) 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7), to determine how project proposals are assessed from an ethical point of view. Due to the incompleteness of the information publicly available, the types and severity of the experiments could not be determined with certainty, although in some projects the level of harm was considered to be ‘severe’. Information was scarce regarding the numbers of primates, their sourcing, housing, care and fate, or the application of the Three Rs within projects. Project grant holders and the relevant Commission officer were consulted about their experiences with the FP7 ethics review process. Overall, it was seen as meaningful and beneficial, but some concerns were also noted. Ethical follow-up during project performance and upon completion was recognised as a valuable tool in ensuring that animal welfare requirements were adequately addressed. Based upon the outcome of the survey, recommendations are presented on how to strengthen the ethical review process under the upcoming Framework Programme ‘Horizon 2020’, while adequately taking into account the specific requirements of Directive 2010/63/EU, with the aim of limiting the harms inflicted on the animals and the numbers used, and ultimately, replacing the use of primates altogether.

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Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 2012:Another Increase in Experimentation — Genetically-altered Animals Dominate Again

Michelle Hudson-Shore

The Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2012 reveal that the level of animal experimentation in Great Britain continues to rise, with just over 4.1 million procedures being started in that year. Despite the previous year’s indication that the dominance of the production and use of genetically-altered (GA, i.e. genetically-modified animals plus animals with harmful genetic defects) animal might be abating, it returned with a vengeance in 2012. Breeding increased from 43% to 48% of all procedures, and GA animals were involved in 59% of all the procedures. Indeed, if the breeding of these animals were removed from the statistics, the total number of procedures would actually decline by 2%. In order to honour their pledge to reduce animal use in science, the Coalition Government will have to address this issue. The general trends in the species used, and the numbers and types of procedures, are also reviewed. Finally, forthcoming changes to the statistics are discussed.

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