In 2015, the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. was awarded the Lush Training Prize for its broad approach to education and training on the effective use of human-relevant, non-animal research techniques. The prize was awarded for work that included hosting workshops and webinars, initiating in-person training sessions and developing educational resources. The Consortium works closely with industry and regulatory agencies to identify and overcome barriers to the validation and use of alternatives to animal testing, by using an approach that identifies, promotes and verifies the implementation of these methods. The Consortium's recent activities toward replacing tests on animals for nanomaterials, pesticides and medical devices, are described, as examples of projects with broad applicability aimed at large-scale regulatory change.
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Evaluation of Non-animal Methods for Assessing Skin Sensitisation Hazard: A Bayesian Value-of-Information Analysis
Maria Leontaridou, Silke Gabbert, Ekko C. Van Ierland, Andrew P. Worth and Robert Landsiedel
This paper offers a Bayesian Value-of-Information (VOI) analysis for guiding the development of non-animal testing strategies, balancing information gains from testing with the expected social gains and costs from the adoption of regulatory decisions. Testing is assumed to have value, if, and only if, the information revealed from testing triggers a welfare-improving decision on the use (or non-use) of a substance. As an illustration, our VOI model is applied to a set of five individual non-animal prediction methods used for skin sensitisation hazard assessment, seven battery combinations of these methods, and 236 sequential 2-test and 3-test strategies. Their expected values are quantified and compared to the expected value of the local lymph node assay (LLNA) as the animal method. We find that battery and sequential combinations of non-animal prediction methods reveal a significantly higher expected value than the LLNA. This holds for the entire range of prior beliefs. Furthermore, our results illustrate that the testing strategy with the highest expected value does not necessarily have to follow the order of key events in the sensitisation adverse outcome pathway (AOP).
Robert D. Combes and Michael Balls
Strategic policy decisions are being made about e-cigarettes, based on the plausibility of their greater safety, rather than on essential scientific evidence which would permit a proper risk assessment. If e-cigarettes are really ‘safer’, then their use should be recommended, but only after an intelligent analysis of their risk to human health, based on integrated in silico, in vitro and clinical studies for both scientific and logistical reasons.
Gilly Stoddart and Jeffrey Brown
The successful development and validation of non-animal techniques, or the analysis of existing data to satisfy regulatory requirements, provide no guarantee that this information will be used in place of animal experiments. In order to advocate for the replacement of animal-based testing requirements, the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd (PISC) liaises with industry, regulatory and research agencies to establish and promote clear paths to validation and regulatory use of non-animal techniques. PISC and its members use an approach that identifies, promotes and verifies the implementation of good scientific practices in place of testing on animals. Examples of how PISC and its members have applied this approach to minimise the use of animals for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals regulation in the EU and testing of cosmetics on animals in India, are described.
Elliot Lilley, Penny Hawkins and Maggy Jennings
Ending severe suffering is a desirable goal for both ethical and scientific reasons. The RSPCA has pledged to work toward the end of such suffering for laboratory animals, and in this article we outline a practical approach that establishments can follow to achieve this aim.
The delivery of the UK Government's and Concordat's commitments to greater openness on animal research is eagerly awaited. Meanwhile, the questions raised by two studies on the use of animal tests to predict the toxic effects of drugs in humans should be answered. Procedures applied to protected laboratory animals, which may cause them pain, suffering, distress and or lasting harm, are only morally acceptable, and should only be legally permissible, if they are scientifically justifiable.