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World’s First for Animal Replacement Science Announced

UK to lead global community in search for alternatives to animal testing

A WORLD’S FIRST education and research initiative announced today (January 16th) will see the UK spearhead a collaborative global search for more ethical, human-relevant alternatives to animal testing.

The UK’s leading humane medical research charity, the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT), and Queen Mary, University of London, have joined forces to lead the global development of human-relevant methods and alternatives to animal use in diverse areas of bio-medical research.

The Dr Hadwen Trust is to fund the first Professorial Chair in animal replacement science thanks to a £1 million legacy left to the DHT specifically for this purpose by lifelong supporter Alan Stross. 

The successful applicant will be based at Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute - a recognised pioneer in the development of in vitro models using human cells and tissue and in particular the development of three-dimensional models in cutaneous (skin), gastroenterology and cancer research.

Kailah Eglington, Chief Executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: “Creating the world’s first professorial chair in animal replacement science is a major stepping stone towards the development of a global community of scientists working together towards finding cures that replace the use of animals and are more human-relevant.

“This branch of science is becoming increasingly accepted among the scientific community and it is vital that new and existing scientists and researchers are aware that successful alternatives to animal testing are available today and that more are needed.”

Professor Mike Curtis, Director of the Blizard Institute and Deputy Vice Principal for Health at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “Our aim is to encourage and stimulate research and education in animal replacement science of the highest quality. 

“Areas of special focus will include 3D cell culture, 3D modelling and bioinformatics and regenerative medicine with particular emphasis on, but not limited to, diseases of the skin and the digestive tract.”

A change in UK legislation, directed by the EU, comes into force this month (January 2013) which ensures that alternative, non-animal research techniques are used in medical research if they are available. 

The DHT Professorial Chair at the Blizard Institute will play a pivotal role in leading the UK’s response to this legislative change in creating links between scientists in the sector and in identifying areas of best practice in replacement science.  It is also intended that educational programmes specific to animal replacement science will be developed to inspire more young people to choose a career in the field.

Applications for the DHT Professorial Chair in Animal Replacement Science at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary will be invited in March 2013.

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