This page will gradually be enlarged to include details of 3R-alternatives to the use of animals in education, research and testing.
A general presentation describing alternatives to animal use is available for downloading.
Examples of alternative laboratory animals (not covered by present-day legislation):
The roundworm C. elegans (Caenorhabditis elegans)
The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
Non-traditional laboratory animals (covered by present-day legislation):
The naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber)
Alternatives to the use of animals in education and training
The NORINA database contains information on over 3,500 alternatives and supplements to the use of animals in education and training, at all levels from junior school (including dissection alternatives) to University. See also the section on Education and Training.
Alternatives to the use of animals in toxicity testing
From Bedside to Bench was the title of a presentation by Brigitte Landesmann of the EU Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing, at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy at the EUSAAT congress in Linz in August 2016. When chemicals are assessed for their potential human health hazards, the classical approach measures the reaction to them in animals. A paradigm shift in regulatory toxicity testing is underway, to implement the 3Rs, which, besides offering a more robust scientific basis for assessing adverse health effects of chemicals, will also reduce the cost and time for testing. The vision is to transform toxicity testing from whole-animal (in vivo) testing to one founded primarily on in vitro methods that evaluate the responses of normal cellular signalling pathways that, when perturbed by chemical exposure, may lead to adverse effects. In vitro testing should preferably be done on human cells, cellular components or tissue, using the large range of cell models and tools which are now available.
In this context, the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) conceptual framework was developed as a tool for supporting a knowledge-based safety assessment that relies on understanding toxicity, rather than simply observing its effects. Adverse Outcome Pathways describe the whole process from the chemical’s initial molecular interaction with the organism to the clinical outcome at the level of the whole organism (or population, in the case of ecotoxicology). As part of this process, a better understanding and improved relevance of in vitro testing could be achieved by using human data - both from clinically healthy individuals and those with illnesses - as benchmark. A better understanding of health, disease, and repair mechanisms in vivo could support the identification of markers with translational relevance. The presentation also describes an Adverse Outcome Pathway Knowledge Base that has been set up to enable the scientific community, in one central location, to share, develop and discuss AOP related knowledge.
EU ban on testing and marketing of cosmetics
The situation in the EU as of September 2016 regarding the bans on the testing of cosmetic ingredients and cosmetics, and on the marketing of such products which have been tested on animals, is described in the 11th Commission Report to the European Parliament and the Council.
Alternatives validated by the OECD
Alternatives validated by EURL ECVAM
The European Pharmacopeia
ICH guideline M3(R2) on non-clinical safety studies for the conduct of human clinical trials and marketing authorisation for pharmaceuticals (2009)
Doke & Dhawale, (2015): Alternatives to animal testing: a review
Bergstrom M (2017): The Use of Microdosing in the Development of Small Organic and Protein Therapeutics
Herrmann et al. (2019): Beyond the 3Rs: Expanding the Use of Human-Relevant Replacement Methods in Biomedical Research
Alternatives to animal testing
Alternatives and Searching the Literature for Animal Research (UC Davis website)
Alternative research (3Rs) in the World, Asia and Japan
What you need to know about organoids
- Organs on Chips
- Simple animal models for microbiome research
- Practical guides produced by ECHA to requirements under REACH, CLP and BPR, including How to use alternatives to animal testing to fulfil your information requirements for REACH registration
- The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM)
- Ethics of animal research in human disease remediation, its institutional teaching; and alternatives to animal experimentation (Cheluvappa et al., 2017)
- Alternative approaches to vertebrate ecotoxicity tests in the 21st century: A review of developments over the last two decades and current status (A. Lillicrap et al., 2016)
- EU-ToxRisk - an Integrated European programme driving mechanism-based toxicity testing and risk assessment for the 21st century, funded for 6 years from 1 January 2016 by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020.
- Applying bioprinting approaches to improve drug and chemical product development
- Drosophila as a disease model
- The wax moth larva (Galleria mellonella) as an infection model
- Bivalves: A New Model for Biomedical Research?
- Honey bees as models for gut microbiota research
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