Beyond Mice and Monkeys: PCRM Conference Explores Alternatives to Animal Research
His company created a surrogate human immune system that assesses human responses to potential vaccines and drugs. Her organization revolutionized breast cancer research by connecting women directly with clinical researchers. William L. Warren, Ph.D., and Susan Love, M.D., will join 20 other scientific experts speaking at PCRM’s upcoming conference on progress in reducing and replacing animal experimentation.
Animal experimentation has long raised ethical objections, along with questions about its applicability to human health. These issues are debated often—but rarely studied and discussed in an organized forum.
PCRM’s “Animals, Research, and Alternatives: Measuring Progress 50 Years Later” conference will bring together global experts this August in Washington, D.C., to discuss the scientific and ethical imperatives associated with animal research.
Reduce, Replace, Refine, Reevaluate
An often-cited model for protecting animals in research, the “3 Rs,” was first described in the 1959 book The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch.
The “3 Rs” ask researchers to reduce the number of animals used to the minimum necessary, refine or limit the pain and distress to which animals are exposed, and replace the use of animals with nonanimal alternatives when possible or use species deemed to be less capable of pain and distress.
While the “3 Rs” were once viewed as a step forward, advancements in our understanding of animals and of scientific needs over the past five decades require a reevaluation of mandates regarding the use of animals in research. Fifty years after the “3 Rs” were first defined, PCRM will facilitate a reevaluation of this model.
Scientists, physicians, and others will present scientific considerations related to animal research. They will cover the genetic and physiological differences between humans and various animal species, the economics of animal testing, and the modern approaches and testing methods that can replace the use of animals in research.
Replacements for animal tests, which share the advantages of being human biology-based, include in vitro technologies, computer modeling, tissue engineering, epidemiological and clinical studies, genetic methods, and microdosing technologies.
William L. Warren, Ph.D., the CEO and founder of VaxDesign Corporation, will discuss the benefits and applications of his company’s recently developed in vitro human immune system, which assesses new drugs and vaccines more accurately, compared with tests using animal methods.
Susan Love, M.D., of the Love/Avon Army of Women will explain how her organization has challenged breast cancer researchers to expand their focus to prevention research conducted on healthy women. The Army of Women has created a direct partnership between scientists conducting clinical trials and women who may qualify to participate in the trials.
Robert J. Kavlock, Ph.D., will share the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) perspective of the future of chemical testing. Dr. Kavlock is the director of the newly formed National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) within the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. His talk will cover how nonanimal testing methods fit into the NCCT’s mission to improve risk identification in assessing environmental chemicals.
The Impact on Animals
In addition to scientific considerations, speakers will examine the ethical considerations of animal experimentation. Distinguished researchers, veterinarians, and ethicists will speak about animals’ cognitive and affective capabilities and the effects of the pain and stress endured by animals used in research.
Lori Marino, Ph.D., of Emory University will discuss noninvasive research on dolphin and whale cognition. Dr. Marino is the author of more than 80 publications, including the first definitive evidence of mirror self-recognition in bottlenose dolphins. Alicia Karas, D.V.M., an assistant professor at Tufts University, studies methods of pain assessment and treatment in mice, rabbits, and dogs. She will speak about the physiological effects of the pain and stress millions of mice endure in laboratories.
Other speakers will cover nonhuman primate cognition, the emotional lives of animals, international frameworks for animal protection, mood and anxiety disorders in chimpanzees, and other areas with ethical implications for using animals in experiments.
Animals, Research & Alternatives: Measuring Progress 50 Years Later
Find more information and register today at ResearchAlternatives.org
Join experts from around the world fifty years after the development of the key model for the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animals in research. Medical professionals, scientists, ethicists, policymakers, and students are welcome.
A continuing medical education event (Category 1, Maximum 16.5 credits)