Against animal testing

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, are launching a new project to develop methods which could one-day decrease the use of rats and mice in pharmaceutical testing. They will receive backing from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) as part of its latest funding round. The development of a non-mammalian, pre-clinical screening tool for predictive analysis of drug safety will be carried out as a collaborative project between UEA's Grant Wheeler, Vicky Sherwood and Dominic Williams at the University of Liverpool. According to the UK government some 80,000 rodents were used in drug testing in 2012 in the UK alone. This is a huge number of animals, so any new protocols that can reduce this burden on animal testing could have a huge impact in significantly reducing the number of animals used for drug safety testing each year, says Wheeler. We aim to develop such a protocol using a combination of mammalian cell lines, early frog embryos and computer modelling to predict toxicity.