Medical Animal Testing Rates to Drop With New Testing Method

The findings of a new study by analytics group, Elsevier and Bayer, could potentially cut the rates of animal testing significantly. The study, published in the Journal of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, evaluated over 1.6 million adverse events that had been reported to EU and US regulators.

Researchers found that some tests on animals do not effectively predict a human response, with unique reactions reported in animals and in humans. In some cases, some of the events in animals after the tests had never even been reported in a human being, and vice versa. The findings could help researchers to cut unnecessary tests on animals.

“All life science companies have a desire to decrease animal testing, and with continued pressure from governments, societies, and animal welfare groups, pharmaceutical organizations are exploring ways to do that,” Dr. Matthew Clark, Director of Scientific Services at Elsevier, told Pharmatimes.

Around the globe, organizations, countries, states, and even the EU, have been taking steps to reduce animal testing, with some, such as the National Institute of Health (NIH), announcing plans to eliminate the practice altogether.

With help from the Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the NIH is following a new strategic roadmap, leading it away from animal testing and towards new technology, such as high-throughput screening, computational models, and tissue chips. “The National Institutes of Health’s new Roadmap provides a direct route to better protect millions of human and animal lives,” said the vice president of PCRM’s research policy, Kristie Sullivan, in a statement earlier this year. “It will help replace animal tests, which can fail to predict if a drug or chemical is harmful, with organs-on-chips and other human-relevant methods.” 

Futhermore, a UK campaign launched in February targeted Cancer Research and its use of animals for research purposes. The campaign believes “human disease can only be examined properly using human tissue.”  The organization leading the campaign, Animal Free Research UK, noted, “Animal Free Research UK is showing how research that helps us fundamentally understand human biology and disease can and should take place without the need to use any animals.”