New EU legislation a decade ago sought to push researchers to find alternative methods of testing drugs that would give them same or better data as those obtained via animal testing, but that either don’t involve the use of any animals at all, used fewer animals, or involved less painful procedures. This drive for more humane experimentation, referred to as the 3R's, which stands for replace, reduce and refine, is increasingly embedded in legislation and regulatory practice, as well as in the policies of organisations that fund research.
IMI-funded projects have resulted in a number of innovations that are directly or indirectly contributing to reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in drug development, whether it's better animal models that are more like humans and thus produce more reliable data, in vitro cell or organoid based models, or sophisticated computer modelling. Throughout its existence, IMI has fully supported the development of alternative methods to animal testing in scientific research, and will continue to do so in the new programme, the Innovative Health Initiative.
Sophisticated computing and human cell cultures are helping minimise animal use in drug development
Virtual control groups: shared, reused data could reduce animal use in drug safety studies
Safe, potent and consistent vaccine batches – no routine animal testing required
A new way of studying an old question – which medicines can be taken safely while breastfeeding?