Home Europe News Non-animal testing can reshape health and environmental policies

Non-animal testing can reshape health and environmental policies


Footage of the unacceptable cruelty and abuse of animals in a testing facility in Spain was recently made. title and remind many people react. 24order April is celebrated as World Day for Laboratory Animals. Its goal is to promote alternatives to animal testing that are currently revolutionizing chemical toxicology, an area of ​​research in which the European Union (EU) has significantly increased funding to improve assessment. chemical safety.

Around 10 million animals – mainly rodents, but also primates, cats and dogs – are used annually in scientific experiments in the EU. Countless mammals are killed across the globe for a variety of substances. Laboratory animals are protected under Directive 2010/63 / EU, which sets high requirements on animal welfare standards. It spells out Replacement, Minimize and Screening Principles (3R) and require the application of alternatives – or New Approach (NAM) – as they exist.

In 2013, the EU brought ban on animal testing of ingredients used exclusively in cosmetics, shows the world that it is possible to abandon animal testing. Lines of human cells and tissues, organs on a chip (in vitro) and advanced computer modeling techniques (in silico) is one of the available alternative methods that overcomes the limitations of animal testing.

Condemned by Non-governmental organizations and citizen, it is slow, expensive and sometimes unreliable to run animal tests for certain products, delaying detection of harmful substances. For example, it has become apparent that half of all animal experiments are conducted for development medicine irrelevant due differences between species. Also evolving disappointed In relation to current approaches to chemical safety assessment, it is overly reliant on animal testing to accurately extrapolate risks to human health.

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The number and variety of chemicals used is increasing dramatically. Thousands of substances have never been tested for their toxicity, and global chemical production is expected to double by 2030. pollution accounts for one tenth of all deaths Around the world, there is an urgent need to develop faster, more reliable, and ethical solutions for solves the problem of good stewardship of chemical products globally, without increasing animal testing.

To that end, the EU is investing € 60 million over the next 5 years into three international projects entirely dedicated to regulatory toxic enhancement without using animal testing, the budget of The H2020 program has more than doubled since its last grant.

In March, 15 organizations led by the University of Birmingham launched PrecisionTox. This project focuses on human cell lines and a diverse range of biomedical modeling organisms, such as fruit flies, water fleas, nematodes and embryos of zebrafish and frogs. These sentient beings are not considered by law animals and share many genes with humans due to evolution. These fast, 3Rs compliant, and cost-effective test models will enable traceability of toxicity pathways on branches of animal evolution plants to predict adverse effects. Chemistry for all animals, including humans.

Coordinated by VU University Brussels, ONTOX The project will start on the 1stst of May with the aim of creating innovative non-animal methods that can predict chronic human toxicity while taking into account appropriate exposure levels. NAMs developed by 18 beneficiaries based on ontology and artificial intelligence to measure the toxic effects caused by any chemical (pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and biocides) to the liver, kidneys and brain, but the same applies to other organs and organ systems.

In June, Risk-Hunt3r the project will be successful EU-ToxRisk, a beneficiary of a five-year project from a previous EU € 27 million grant, is coming to an end. The 37-partner team will build on its recent experience to promote a new framework for animal-free risk assessment under the leadership of Leiden University. Risk-Hunt3r combines situations of human contact, in vitro testing and computational methods to collect toxicity-mechanism data to identify pathways of response to poison in a truly human-centered approach.

Moving towards the replacement of animal testing will translate into industrial and regulatory practices that will better protect people and ecosystems, by enabling the identification, classification and, ultimately, the elimination of substances. toxic from the environment.

The European Commission has announced its zero pollution ambitions in the Green Agreement. The Chemical strategy for sustainability is one of the first steps to provide a “non-toxic environment” and is expected to lead to significant modifications in the EU legal framework, such as the Cosmetic Regulations. NAM promises to fill the knowledge gaps that are challenging risk assessors and regulators while tackling the growing number of chemicals for which toxicity remains unknown with solutions. faster, more reliable and more ethical.


This article is written by a member of the Voxeurop community. It has been reviewed by the Editors, but does not necessarily reflect the views of Voxeurop.


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