Glossary of terms
Acute Toxicity - The short-term effects of a one-time exposure to a chemical substance.
Alternatives - Methods that refine existing tests to minimize animal distress, reduce the number of animals needed for an experiment, or replace whole-animal tests.
Analgesics - Drugs which relieve or eliminate pain.
Anesthesia - A chemical or technique that makes a human or other animal lose feeling. Anesthesia may or may not make the human or animal become unconscious.
Battery (Of Tests) - A group of tests that measures different levels of toxicity in a particular organ or system.
Biochemicals - Any chemical produced by a living organisms
Carcinogenicity - The ability of a chemical/compound to cause or promote cancer.
Cell Culture - Cells grown in culture media. See "tissue culture"
Chemical Bank - A stock of pure chemicals that investigators use for research and validation studies.
Chronic Toxicity - The effects of repeated or long-term exposure to a substance.
Clinical Studies - Phases in the drug development process in which the effects of a drug are tested in humans. Phase I: Testing in healthy volunteers, known as subjects. Phase II: Testing in patients in order to demonstrate the efficacy of the drug and find the optimum dose. Phase III: Testing in a large number of patients in order to test the safety and efficacy and detect any side effects. Phase IV: Additional monitoring of drug use after the drug has been authorized.
Cognitive - Brain functions related to sense perception or understanding.
Computer Simulations - Testing possible real-world situations on computer programs to try to understand how things work in the real world. For example, there are many computer programs that simulate animal dissection.
Culture - The growth of living cells or microorganisms in a controlled, artificial environment.
Cytotoxicity - A measurement of a chemical's ability to damage or kill cells.
Database - A computerized collection of information.
Dissection - Exploring anatomy by cutting open and looking inside a dead animal. If someone were to use a?live animal instead, this would be called vivisection. Most of the early cries for mercy towards animal research were cries to end vivisection.
Endpoint - In toxicology, a quantifiable biological change or effect caused by a toxic process. Also refers to the point in an animal experiment when no more information can be obtained and the experiment is stopped.
Etiology - The study of the cause and/or origin of a disease.
Euthanise - To kill a human or other animal as painlessly as possible.
Ex Vivo - Any experiment in or on tissue in an artificial environment outside the organism.
Experiment - A scientific research study.
Exposure-Response Relationship - The connection between the amount of a chemical administered and a specific toxic effect in the organism, also called the dose-response relationship.
Fundamental Research - Area of research concerned with the fundamental relationships between the processes which take place in the body or with the causes of diseases. Fundamental research thus contributes indirectly to the development of new active ingredients and therapies.
High-Throughput Screening - Automated in vitro testing of substances for their effects in biological systems.
Immortalization - A process by which cells in a culture can replicate indefinitely
In Vitro - In the test tube / outside the body. "In vitro" is latin for 'in glass'
In Vitro Testing/Assay - Studies done with cells or tissues cultured in petri dishes.
In Vivo - In the animal. "in vivo" is latin for 'in life'
In Vivo Testing/Assay - Studies done in aliving animal.
Metabolite - A chemical produced in the body following the absorption and processing of a parent chemical.
Microbiologist - A person who studies living things too small to be seen with the naked eye. Bacteria are one example of something that a microbiologist would study.
Microtiter Plates - Plastic dishes that are divided into compartments and used for culturing and testing cells in a variety of conditions.
Mutagenicity - Measurement of a chemical's ability to cause changes in genetic material.
Parenteral - Not taken into the body through the intestines, e.g. an injection
Perfusion - Pumping of blood or artificial media through the blood vessels of an isolated organ for the purpose of nourishment.
Pharmaceutical Research - Scientific research relating to drugs.
Pharmacology - The science and theory of the interactions between drugs and the body.
Phototoxicity - The ability of sunlight to activate or enhance a substance's tendency to kill skin cells.
Preclinical - Preceding clinical trials (in Latin, pre- = before). All studies and investigations in drug research which are performed before the start of clinical studies are referred to as "preclinical".
Primate - A human, ape, monkey, or related animal like a lemur or tarsier.
Protocols - An experimental procedure or series of such procedures.
Psychology - The study of the minds and actions of humans and others animals.
Reduction - One of the Three R's. Reduction means to work to reduce the number of animals used in research.
Refinement - One of the Three R's. Refinement means to improve the lives and living conditions of animals used in research. It also means to refine the experiment so as to cause the least amount of pain and suffering in an animal.
Replacement - One of the Three R's. Replacement means to find new and better ways to do research that do not require animals.
Risk Assessment - The process of calculating the toxic effects of an exposure to a chemical substance and determining the potential uses of the substance.
Sentient - Being conscious of your surroundings
Sociology - The study of large groups of people, and how and why they act and think the ways they do.
Teratogenicity - The ability of a chemical substance to cause defects in a human or animal fetus.
Three R'S - The core of the prescription by William Russell and Rex Burch's Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. The Three R's are Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement.
Tissue Culture - A group of living cells that is kept alive outside of the animal from which they came.
Tissue Slices - An in vitro technique in which tissue is cut into thin and uniform slices so that the architecture of the organ is preserved, with all the cell types present.
Tolerability Testing - Term used in clinical pharmacology to mean testing a new substance or medicine for its tolerability.
Toxicity - Dose-dependent toxic properties and effects of a chemical substance. Toxicity is determined in "toxicity tests" and calculated in relation to body weight.
Toxicity Testing - In vivo or in vitro experiments designed to reveal a chemical's toxic potential in order to determine the potential uses (or danger of use) for the substance; an aspect of risk assessment.
Toxicodynamics - Alterations in a biological system resulting from exposure to chemicals.
Toxicokinetics - The absorption, distribution, metabolism, storage, and excretion of chemicals.
Toxicology - The study of how chemicals interact with and affect people, animals, and the environment.
Transfection - Introduction of a foreign gene (DNA) into a cell's genome.
Transgenic Animals - Animals that carry a foreign (e.g. human) gene which has been deliberately inserted into their genome.
Vertebrates - Animals who have backbones. Mammals (like humans, gorillas, squirrels, and whales), marsupials (like koalas and kangaroos), birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish are examples of vertebrates. Animals like insects, jellyfish, octopi, and worms are not vertebrates.
Vivisection - Originally the surgical cutting of a living animal in scientific research; often used today as a synonym for any type of animal experimentation.
Warm-Blooded - Animals who make enough of their own heat (from the food they eat) that they do not need to rely on the sun for warmth. Mammals and birds are warm-blooded. Many paleontologists believe that some smaller dinosaurs may also have been warm-blooded.