FRAME News 70
Newsletter from the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments
FRAME News Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments Editor: Anne Jeffery One of the reasons for the increasing number of potential drugs that fail human trials is the inability of animal tests to make accurate predictions about idiosyncratic responses in patients. Professor Michael Balls said “This is partly because the animal models used in testing strategies are not sufficiently closely related to what is being modelled, and therefore cannot be expected to provide a sufficiently relevant or reliable basis for making important decisions. Yet many companies still cling to animal methods as the gold standard. “Parts of the industry remain intent on defending the continued use of animal models at almost any cost, whilst seeming to be reluctant to restrict the use of animal procedures to selected, specifically-justifiable circumstances and to make a more enthusiastic commitment to the development, validation and application of replacement alternative tests and strategies of direct relevance to humans and their diseases.” Professor Balls praises the role of the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) in speeding up the development of better and safer medicines by supporting collaborative, multi-centre, international research projects. IMI Executive Director, Professor Michel Goldman, delivered the FRAME Annual Lecture in 2012. Read more on page 2. The full ATLA editorial is available on the FRAME website at http://www. frame.org.uk/page.php?pg_id=19 No. 70 April 2013 FRAME and the Pharmaceutical Industry INSIDE... FRAME Annual Lecture New FRAME trustee PiLAS success Consultation on HO guidance Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum launched Public attitudes to animal research FRAME speakers at international conference Free access to early issues of ATLA FRAME publishes key workshop proceedings New text book on implant dentistry FRAME assists with testing protocols FAL PhD Students More training school success Estimating the impact of Three Rs research How does influenza spread? NIH retires research chimps Heart disease in captive apes Cost and benefits of animal experiments News in brief 12 11 8 9 10 7 6 5 4 2 3 FRAME has called on the pharmaceutical industry to place more emphasis on humanfocused drug development and testing. In an editorial in FRAME’s scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) Professor Michael Balls, Chairman of the FRAME Trustees, acknowledges the challenges faced by the industry, but says too many companies still rely on animal–based methods. He says: “Unlike most other chemicals and chemical products, medicines are designed to be deliberately taken into the body, there to exert powerful effects on cells, organs and systems. Given the complexity of the body and its control systems, it is not surprising that they can also induce adverse and serious side-effects.” FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk The FRAME Annual Lecture/ The late Bill Annett The Bill Annett Lecture systems and the pharmaceutical industry, public–private partnerships offer unique opportunities to overcome the hurdles which prevent efficient and safe medicines from reaching patients suffering from debilitating diseases. “With increased attention paid to investigations centred on human beings, human materials, or based on in vitro and E very year FRAME holds its annual lecture, featuring the latest developments in the field of the Three Rs. Speakers are gathered from leading institutions and organisations concerned with the implementation of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. The lecture was introduced to give an opportunity for all parties interested in the Three Rs to hear developments in the alternatives field. Scientists, business people, government officials and FRAME supporters get together annually to share their ideas. The lecture is always well received by its invited audience. In 2005 the lecture was renamed to commemorate the life of Bill Annett, who served as a FRAME consultant for many years and died, aged 92, while still working on behalf of the charity. Since then the lecture has carried both titles. The 2012 lecture was held at the Kennel Club in London and attended by more than 50 people. in silico models, PPPs like the IMI contribute to rationalising the use of animals in biomedical research, by focusing on validated models directly pertinent to drug action in human patients.” The full text can be found at http://www. frame.org.uk/page.php?pg_id=19 The 14th Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Michel Goldman, Executive Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Brussels, Belgium, and was entitled “New approaches to assess drug safety through public–private partnerships” (PPPs). The IMI is Europe’s largest public–private partnership. A joint undertaking between the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), its mission is to improve the drug development process by supporting the more-efficient discovery and development of better and safer medicines. Professor Goldman leads his staff in building and promoting networks of innovation, in close collaboration with many stakeholders involved in pharmaceutical research and development, to foster the development of moreeffective and safer therapies for patients across Europe. In his speech he explained how animal models are still widely used to assess the efficacy or safety of new pharmaceutical products, in spite of their limitations in predicting actions of drugs in humans. He said there is an urgent need to revisit the use of animals in pharmaceutical research, and discussed some of the projects currently being overseen by the IMI. They include several initiatives designed to overcome the failure of testing methods currently used to predict adverse effects of new drugs. Such variations can lead to increased costs, delays in the development of safe, new pharmaceutical products, and even to their withdrawal after their acceptance for use in patients. He and colleagues have also contributed an article to FRAME’s scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) giving details of the projects currently under way through IMI initiatives. It says: “In an era of increasing economic pressure on the healthcare Professor Michel Goldman 2 http://www.frame.org.uk FRAME News N E W FRAME Trustee She graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1987 with a first class BSc in physiology and pharmacology and stayed there to study for a PhD in neuropharmacology. As a post doctoral researcher she moved to Nottingham to work with Professor Charles Marsden, and FRAME Trustee Professor David Kendall. She was studying the action of a type of anti-depressant called SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). She remained in Nottingham to complete a project studying the central cannabinoid receptor, a part of the nervous system that controls the body’s reaction to plant substances such as THC, the active ingredient of cannabis. She now lives in Scotland and is married with two children. While bringing up her family she has remained busy with charity work. She also took an MSc in Forensic Science at the University of Strathclyde in 2009–10. She said: “I am well aware of the limitations of animal models that are used in scientific research and the potential benefits of using cell culture work, having been involved in both at Nottingham. “I thoroughly applaud FRAME’s commitment to its Three Rs policy and am delighted to become a Trustee for the Charity.” Professor Michael Balls, Chairman of the FRAME Trustees, said: “We are very pleased to have Anna join us.” FRAME has appointed a new Trustee. Dr Anna Cadogan is a specialist in neuropharmacology. PiLAS Success FRAME’s new publication PiLAS (Perspectives in Laboratory Animal Science) has proved popular with its readers. PiLAS appears both as a supplement to the scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) and as a free access website at Its aim is to offer bio-scientists an opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge and ideas concerning issues raised by laboratory animal use and thereby improve the quality of discussion about the topic, and about alternative methods. www.atla.org.uk. ATLA 40, P24–P 25, 2012 P24 DISCUSSIONS Online nary Anatomy Taking Veteri Short and l-Phillips, Nick Gemma Gaitskel a Bara Stanikov M) website Museum (OVA teaching rinary Anatomy The Online Vete will help to change anatomy ents learn and the way stud PiLAS articles are currently aimed mainly at the field of veterinary science, because of the key role played by the profession in the care and use of laboratory animals, although it is also attracting readers from other areas. Feedback has been very positive and FRAME has already made some adjustments in response to readers’ requests. For example, the website now has an RSS feed, so people can find out immediately when updates are made. The project has been well received in many areas and messages of support have been sent by several leading figures including FRAME Patron Professor David Greenaway of the University of contributhouses), each and publishing ordered 1 erinary schools aggregated and M) site that have been — making them Museum (OVA ing resources environment rinary Anatomy carefully selected, learners. A ily-searchable of a read rts The Online Vete a to ss coho into rent open acce set of verable by diffe er school was disco ally-structured aims to provide y partn gogic easil each peda to the and rator from e, working closely linked comprehensive student e-cu his/her choic omical resources, start-up a project of available veterinary anat 2 Funding for the project 3 oguing all the responsible for ct. by JISC, emic and catal WikiVet proje e was provided alongside an acad The ial time-fram e 2011–2013. mirrors the conduring the offic resources. ent Programm virtual museum mber Cont ay this Nove the of 20 of ture on hed as part m stack’, displ The struc officially launc with a ‘backroo interface design was el, site mod OVAM ventional tors’. The ortium student ‘cura involves a cons 2012. ‘cabinets’ and um currently vetThe online muse around the world (including from of 20 partners Nottingham, Nic Dakin MP, Chair of the Parliamentary All-Party Group on Replacement of Animals in Experimentation, Cleo Paskal, Literary Executor of Bill and Claire Russell, and Dr Jane Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. The publication has six sections: Opinions, Current Dilemmas, Discussions, The Wisdom of Russell and Burch, Points of View, and News. Comments and feedback are welcomed on any of the articles, or on the publication as a whole. (University of Canine Skeleton 3D Anatomy: nes/dogskeleton3d.html) Interactive Real danatomy.com/bo http://www.real3 Bristol, UK; PiLAS has been made possible by a grant from the Phoebe Wortley Talbot Charitable Trust. FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk 3 Consultation on HO Guidance Once again FRAME has responded to consultation by the Home Office on new regulations connected with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA). An amended version of the Act has been introduced to align UK legislation with European Directive 2010/63/EU. FRAME has welcomed some changes to the Guidance. There has been an improvement on how the document is laid out and worded. FRAME’s Scientific Programme Manager Michelle HudsonShore said: “It is much clearer and the structure is better. It should make it much easier for researchers to understand and implement the regulations.” The new law requires re-authorisation for some activities and use of some types of animal, and the transitional guide sets out details of those amendments. For example, all cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus) are now protected. Under the old regulations only Octopus vulgaris was included. The new rules also increase control over The Home Office has produced a Guidance document for researchers to help them with the changes, and has asked interested bodies such as FRAME for their views. The Guidance follows on from a ‘quick start’ guide issued last December, and goes into more detail about how ASPA was affected when the Directive was transposed into UK law in January. It offers advice on what the revised ASPA covers, and provides guidance on severity classification, humane killing and the accommodation and care of animals. It is aimed at holders of establishment licences, project licences and personal licences, and new licence applicants. Responses to the consultation were requested by mid-March and a revised draft, based on those comments, will be sent to the new Animal Science Commitee, then on to Parliament for approval. Once passed, the regulations will immediately become effective. breeding of some frog species and zebra fish. Increased use of fish in regulatory testing accounted for a significant rise in the number of animals used for toxicology (safety testing) in the last Home Office statistics on the use of animals in laboratories in the UK. Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum Launched www.onlineveterinaryanatomy.net An Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum (OVAM) has been launched in a bid to share resources and provide a central point for information searching. It aims to offer open access to a comprehensive collection of data from universities and veterinary schools worldwide. The site says: “The teaching of anatomy in veterinary schools around the world shares many common approaches. “Whilst textbooks are still widely used, there is a move to creating online teaching resources which can often be more visually effective and engaging. As a result many schools are creating their own materials, often duplicating things that colleagues in other locations are also producing.” The online museum currently involves a consortium of 20 partners from around the world, including veterinary schools and publishing houses. Each partner has contributed resources that have been aggregated and ordered, making them easily discoverable by learners. The collection is organised into categories according to the species, system and region covered. The project is a work in progress and new resources are constantly being added. 4 http://www.frame.org.uk FRAME News Public Attitudes to Animal Research A study of attitudes toward animal use in laboratories has called for better information to be made available to the public in a bid to reduce the gap between scientific practice and societal opinions. Researchers from the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, used an online survey to establish public acceptance of the use of mice and zebrafish in experiments. Their findings have been published in ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals), FRAME’s scientific journal. The team found that public attitudes range from a desire for total abolition of animal experiments to strong support for them. Views were influenced by a number of factors, including age, gender and nationality. They were also affected by the animal’s characteristics, perception of sentience, and the level of invasiveness of the technique. Participants were presented with a range of research scenarios related to creation of animal models to investigate skin cancer. The variables were species used, method of inducing genetic modification, and level of regulation of the research. The results showed that biomedical procedures were acceptable as long as animal welfare concerns were taken into consideration. Methods that were perceived as painful were equally unsupported, regardless of species. The report says: “This result calls into question the assumption that research deemed to cause pain will be considered more acceptable if performed on ‘lower’ species such as fish. Greater effort may be required to inform the public about scientific practice and to permit feedback through public engagement, to reduce the gaps between common scientific practice and societal values.” The full text can be found in: Elisabeth H. Ormandy, Catherine A. Schuppli & Daniel M. Weary. Factors Affecting People’s Acceptance of the Use of Zebrafish and Mice in Research. ATLA 40, 321–333, 2012. FRAME Speakers at International Conference Director of the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL) Dr Andrew Bennett gave a talk on the laboratory’s history and research at an international conference. Dr Bennett was invited to speak at the Portuguese Society for Humane Education (SPEdH) first International Conference of Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, at Romeu Correia Municipal Forum in Almada, Portugal. The conference included 17 international speakers from several different fields of alternatives to the use of animal methods in research and education, with keynote lectures from Professor Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, and Professor Horst Spielmann, adjunct professor at Freie Universität Berlin, and European Editor of FRAME’s scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals). Horst Spielmann Andrew Bennett FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk 5 Free Access to Early Issues of ATLA One of FRAME’s aims is to disseminate information about the Three Rs as widely as possible. As part of that intention it publishes the scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals). past issues, in line with developments in many fields of science. The most recent two volumes will still be subscription-only, but everything from 2010 and before can now be accessed through the FRAME website, free of charge. That is, volume 38 and earlier. Abstracts from all articles are already free to view and some current articles are also available at no charge, such as editorials and comments, news and views, as well as proceedings of scientific meetings. To download past articles, visit www.frame.org.uk and follow the links from the left-hand column. You can register to receive email updates when a new issue of ATLA becomes available. Simply sign up to our electronic newsletter. Details of how to opt-in can be found on the back page of this copy of FRAME News. ATLA is a peer-review scientific publication, with an international editorial board, that provides articles on the latest research relating to the development, validation, introduction and use of alternatives to laboratory animals. It also reports on the latest news and events, reviews publications and products, and lists a selection of the most significant recent research papers. Established almost 40 years ago, it is published six times a year and circulated in more than 50 countries worldwide. For some years ATLA has been available both as a print publication and as an online resource with downloadable pdf copies of articles. Now it has been decided to give ATLA an even wider reach by allowing free access to FRAME Publishes Key Workshop Proceedings FRAME has published the proceedings of a workshop aimed at developing computer models to replace animal tests in environmental hazard assessment. The Second CADASTER Workshop (Case Studies on the Development and Application of In Silico Techniques for Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment) took place over three days in Munich, Germany. The event provided information and assistance to those interested in developing new models to assess endpoints required in the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals) system, Volume 41 Number 1 March 2013 which was introduced by the EU to consolidate and harmonise testing carried out on new and pre-existing chemicals. The regulations advocate the use of non-animal testing methods, but no guidance is given on how they should be used. CADASTER aims to contribute to the guidance. The workshop included presentations, lectures and case studies as well as practical training and demonstration of computational and other models. The proceedings have been published in FRAME’s scientific journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) volume 41. The articles are available to download on free access through the FRAME website at www.frame.org.uk. Alternatives To Laboratory Animals IN THIS ISSUE EDITORIAL Computational toxicology is now inseparable from experimental toxicology ATLA –10 –5 0 4 2 0 CADASTER WORKSHOP PROCEEDINGS Species sensitivity distribution estimation from uncertain (QSARbased) effects data From descriptors to predicted properties: experimental design by using applicability domain estimation Evaluation of CADASTER QSAR models for the aquatic toxicity of (benzo)triazoles and prioritisation by consensus prediction Experimental assessment of the environmental fate and effects of triazoles and benzotriazole Read-across estimates of aquatic toxicity for selected fragrances Arguments for considering uncertainty in QSAR predictions in hazard and risk assessments Uncertainty in QSAR predictions Prioritisation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) by using the QSPR-THESAURUS web tool DRAGON –2 –4 –6 –8 –10 –20 4 2 –15 dragon 0 –2 –4 –30 –20 –10 0 10 20 30 Principal components of a data set on descriptors (top) and predicted properties (bottom) Published by: Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments Russell & Burch House, 96–98 North Sherwood Street Nottingham NG1 4EE, UK 6 http://www.frame.org.uk FRAME News FRAME Chapter in New Text Book on Implant Dentistry FRAME has contributed to a new textbook on major methods and techniques used in the field of implant dentistry and guided-boneregeneration research. The book is aimed at early career students and researchers, and covers a variety of subjects. Chapter topics include basic research approaches, in vitro experiments, application of animal models in dental research, imaging techniques, computer models, biomechanical methods, analytical methods for the bone–implant interface, and conducting clinical research. A chapter on ethics and regulations for the use of laboratory animals, the regulations which govern the manufacture and marketing of chemicals, medicines, medical devices in general, and dental implants in particular, and the opportunities afforded by new technologies for the replacement of animal procedures, has been written by FRAME’s Scientific Programme Manager, Michelle Hudson-Shore, and Chairman of the FRAME Trustees, Professor Michael Balls. Editor Dr Ahmed Ballo is a member of the Department of Biomaterials at Sahlgrenska Academy of the Institute of Clinical Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interests include applied and clinical research in osseointegration and implant dentistry. The book came about as the result of a collaboration of international clinicians and scientists and is the first of its kind, offering scientific and technical information designed to improve the knowledge and technical skills of professionals in the field of implant dentistry. Implant Dentistry Research Guide: Basic, Translational and Clinical Research is published by Nova Science Publishers of the United States of America. The full text of the chapter is available on request from email@example.com. FRAME Assists with Testing Protocols Following changes in the official guidelines, FRAME Trustee Dr Richard Clothier is helping to update in vitro protocols for toxicity tests that have been validated, and which FRAME and the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL) were involved with developing. ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods) has a database of in vitro tests that have been tested in a number of laboratories or have been used in international validation trials. This database was built on the INVITTOX database originally compiled by FRAME, and contains detailed protocols on how to perform and analyse the in vitro nonanimal tests, along with a named experimenter who can be consulted if further guidance is required. ECVAM has promoted these tests and a number of them have been fully independently reviewed and all the published data considered such that internationally acceptable guidelines could be drawn up. Dr Clothier is the former Director of the FAL at the University of Nottingham. During his tenure, the FAL helped to develop and modify in vitro test models for human eye irritation based on damage to the tissue’s barrier function. Due to his past experience he has been asked to assist with drawing up the protocols that are now being accepted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk 7 FAL PhD Students The FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL) was founded in 1983 at the University of Nottingham Medical School. It is continuing to discover and develop real alternatives to the use of animals in research and testing. It offers research posts to postgraduate students. Here are details of two who are currently working there, and their projects. Louis Brailsford was an undergraduate at the University of Nottingham, where he gained a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry. He joined the FAL in the next academic year, to start a PhD studying the development of pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative disease caused by the breakdown of firm flexible cartilage tissue on the surfaces of bones in joints, which leads to inflammation, pain and bone breakdown. Excess bone reabsorption of the joint surface has been implicated in the development of OA, and is thought to be a contributing factor to the pain. Louis Brailsford Richard Maclennan graduated from the University of Sussex with a BSc (Hons) degree in Molecular Medicine. He is currently working for his PhD at the FAL. His project involves development of a dynamic cell culture system that allows cells to retain the characteristics of a human liver for long periods of time. This could be used in toxicity testing to identify substances that might cause liver cancer. Tests currently used to screen for liver tumour development are carried out on rodents, and often cause pain and stress. They can involve dosing the animals with a test compound, or drug, over a period of up to two years, and then examining the liver for signs of tumour growth. Richard said: “Results from animal-based tests might not translate well to the clinic or the environmental settings in which substances have been shown to perform in completely different ways in rodents and humans. “The disparity between the data from animal models and human exposure is a result of fundamental differences in cell signalling and response pathways between rodents and humans. It is important to develop human-based systems to tackle human problems.” Richard MacLennan Bone breakdown is mediated by a group of cells known as osteoclasts, so lessening their activity could represent an opportunity to treat the causes of OA, and block the source of pain. He said: “My research focuses on elucidating the cellular signalling mechanisms in osteoclast development and activity at the molecular level, by isolating osteoclast precursors from the blood of human volunteers and culturing these cells in vitro. “Dissecting the underlying complex signalling networks will allow us to assess the effects of candidate drugs on osteoclast development and activity. The use of human cells as an alternative to animal testing will reduce animal suffering, and because the cells are of human origin, will offer the opportunity to develop a much more relevant drug discovery system for osteoarthritic pain in humans.” 8 http://www.frame.org.uk FRAME News More Training School Success FRAME has held another of its highly successful training schools in experimental design, this time in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and NADIR (The Network of Animal Disease Infectiology Research Facilities). The four-day event was staged at the Universityâ€™s Sutton Bonington campus, where the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is housed. Training sessions were open to students and researchers at the vet school as well as participants from all over Europe and Scandinavia. good experimental design and appropriate statistical analysis. Poorly designed and badly analysed experiments, which use animals inefficiently, are unethical and are scientifically unsatisfactory. The Gateway Building Lectures are given by experts in scientific design and statistics, who provide their services on a voluntary basis. FRAME also gathers financial support from a number of sources in a bid to keep the cost to delegates as low as possible and ensure the maximum number can attend. Group discussions Designing experiments to provide maximum information from minimum animal use needs particular skills, and the FRAME training courses teach researchers those skills. Attendees are given the opportunity to practise test exercises as well as ask questions about their own research. A chance to socialise Every course also has a social aspect, so delegates can forge links with scientists working in similar fields. Attendees were also treated to a ghost walk around the old parts of Nottingham city as well as visiting a historic landmark pub. Computer training The training schools in experimental design and statistics were launched five years ago in order to help scientists carrying out research on animals to reduce the number they use. FRAMEâ€™s ultimate aim is the elimination of the need to use animals in any kind of laboratory procedures, and it supports use of the Three Rs to bring about that goal. (See box) Where replacement is not currently possible, it supports reduction of the number of animals used. Reduction can be achieved through clearly defined aims, Nottinghamâ€™s historic, landmark pub Lectures Sessions include discussion of the legal and ethical aspects of implementing the Three Rs and provide practical advice on how to go about it. There is also training in statistical methods and computer programs that will enable researchers to handle data more effectively and extract more information from the data they gather. The Three Rs Replacement Replacement can be defined as methods or strategies that do not involve the use of protected animals in regulated procedures. Reduction Reduction is the use of appropriate experimental strategies to ensure the minimum number of animals is used to provide necessary information of a satisfactory amount and precision, and ensuring experiments will not need to be repeated. Refinement Refinement means changes in scientific methods and techniques that minimise any suffering caused to the animals involved. A ghost walk in older parts of Nottingham FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk 9 Estimating the Impact of Three Rs Research A review of Three Rs projects has demonstrated how difficult it is to estimate the number of animal lives saved through non-animal research. The study was carried out by Dr Stefanie Schindler, scientific advisor at Animalfree Research (AfR) in Switzerland to mark the 25th anniversary of the country’s 3R Research Foundation (3RRF). In a report published in 3RRF’s InfoBulletin she says the Foundation has invested 17 million Swiss francs in Three Rs research projects since 1987. One of the aims of her study was to examine the strategy applied by the organisation so far, and to measure the performance and efficiency of the funding procedure. It is believed to be the first time that a systematic, quantitative assessment of the impact of Three Rs project work on the life sciences has been performed. Criteria deemed relevant to the survey included reduction in animal numbers used, and reduction in the severity of procedures carried out. Between 50–60% of the projects reviewed included at least some degree of replacement, but it was very difficult, particularly with earlier papers, to establish reliable numbers. The report says: “It has proved impossible to gather complete information on a given project, even though we made use of all available documentation.” Even when a project was designed to provide an immediate replacement from in vivo to in vitro methods it was impossible to establish comparison figures from before and after the change. “Since the number of experiments using the often quicker, easier and cheaper in vitro method tends to increase, resulting numbers of saved animals cannot provide reliable information.” How Does Influenza Spread? A Human Volunteer Study Researchers at the University of Nottingham are leading an investigation into how the influenza virus spreads between people. The Evaluating Modes of Influenza Transmission (EMIT) study will administer flu virus to volunteers in a quarantined setting, enabling scientists to examine in detail how the disease is transmitted from person to person. The study is being led by the University’s Health Protection and Influenza Research Group (HPIRG), which will also coordinate the efforts of the EMIT Consortium, a group of partners from the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA. The collaborators span multiple disciplines including medicine, epidemiology, infection control building engineering, aerobiology and mathematical modelling. HPIRG is led by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, of the University of Nottingham’s School of Community Health Sciences and the Health Protection Agency East Midlands. He said: “People could argue that the transmission of influenza between humans is very clear — through coughing and sneezing, but it’s what lies beneath that cough or sneeze which is important. We need to know if it’s big particles (large droplets) or tiny particles (aerosols) which are important in the transmission of the virus, as this will affect whether nursing and medical staff should wear a simple face mask or a respirator, for instance, when treating people with this condition. “At first glance, the idea of giving people flu sounds unusual, but it’s actually something that has been done for decades in carefully controlled scientific circumstances using a slightly weakened virus. “Scientists regularly give people a wellcharacterised flu virus to test drugs and vaccines, so we thought why can’t we turn this model on its head and give people this flu virus in the same way, but instead of studying treatment, see how it can be transmitted to other people?” 10 http://www.frame.org.uk FRAME News The American National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to retire more than 100 chimpanzees that were being held for laboratory use at the New Iberia Research Center. The chimps are to be moved to a federal sanctuary in Louisiana. Originally, only 10 of the chimps were to be transferred, but a campaign was carried out by various animal rights groups in the USA in a bid to prevent the others being transferred to another research facility. FRAME has a long history of lobbying against the use of great apes for medical research, on both scientific and humanitarian grounds. In a joint submission to the Coalition Government last year, FRAME and the NIH Retires Research Chimps BUAV called for the existing ban on the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and testing to be made permanent and legally binding. There were fears that when European Directive 2010/63/EU was transposed into UK law, the ban could be relaxed, as there was a proviso for individual Member States that they could be used in special circumstances. The UK Government accepted the recommendation, and the use of chimpanzees is now specifically banned in the revised Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. Psychological research has shown that chimpanzees used in laboratories can suffer severe and lasting emotional trauma. Even when they are not being subjected to procedures such as blood testing, biopsy or surgery, they are often kept in cramped conditions, frequently alone, and face constant stress from the noise and disturbance of activities going on around them. In addition there have been a number of published studies that show chimpanzee studies have little or no impact on human health or medical advances. Heart Disease in Captive Apes A US study has shown that heart disease is a significant cause of death in many captive apes. Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, has led the Great Apes Heart Project on behalf of the US federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The ongoing project aims to identify, diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases in all four non-human great ape groups: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos. More than 50 partners are now involved across the USA and Europe. The Sunday Times reported that Zoo Atlanta has found that up to 60% of captive apes are likely to develop heart problems. Heart disease was also said to be a significant cause of death in 41% of gorillas, 20% of orangutans, 38% of chimpanzees, and 45% of bonobos. A similar study on wild apes in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo found only 4% suffered any kind of heart disease. A recent study by independent pathologists, reported in FRAME’s scientific journal ATLA, found that “the majority of chimpanzees which died in laboratories had been suffering from significant chronic or incurable disease, and most often had multisystem diseases that should have made them ineligible for future research, on scientific, as well as on ethical grounds”. Cost and Benefits of Animal Experiments Few ethical issues create as much controversy as invasive experiments on animals and a new book addresses the various opinions. Bioethicist Andrew Knight has set out to provide evidence-based answers to the key question: Is animal experimentation justifiable? In the book he uses more than a decade of published research, analysis and his experience to tackle the seemingly unbridgeable gulf between those who claim animal experiments are essential for combating human health problems and hazards, and those who say that animal-based research and testing are intrinsically flawed. The Cost and Benefits of Animal Experiments is published by Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. FRAME News http://www.frame.org.uk 11 News in Brief New Chair in Animal Replacement Science Queen Mary, University of London and the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) for Humane Research have announced a joint collaboration which will see the world’s first chair dedicated to animal replacement science based within the University’s Blizard Institute. The DHT funding is made possible by a legacy left to it for this purpose, and recognises the fact that the Blizard Institute has been a pioneer in the development of in vitro models using human cells and tissues. and in particular, the development of threedimensional models. Professor Mike Curtis, Director of the Blizard Institute and Deputy Vice Principal for Health at Queen Mary 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.” answers. This is especially serious if animals are used. The course is a joint project between the Wellcome Trust and the RSPCA and will be held in May in Cambridge. It aims to introduce experienced technicians and scientific staff involved with the management of GM mouse colonies to best practice with respect to the Three Rs and animal welfare. FRAME’s ultimate aim is the elimination of the need to use laboratory animals in any kind of medical or scientific procedure. FRAME is dedicated to the development of new and valid methods that will replace the need for laboratory animals in medical and scientific research, education, and testing. Where the use of animals is currently necessary, FRAME supports the reduction of numbers involved to an unavoidable minimum and refinement of the experimental procedures to minimise any suffering caused. FRAME relies entirely on grants and donations to carry out its vital work promoting the development of new and valid methods that will replace the need for laboratory animals in medical and scientific research, education, and testing. It receives no financial support from local or central government. As an independent charity, FRAME welcomes any donation, however small, either from individuals or companies. Animals in Science Committee The Home Office is currently recruiting a Chair for its new Animals in Science Committee. The new committee has been set up in line with EU Directive 2010/63 and replaces the former Animal Procedures Committee, created in 1987 by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Its role is to provide the Home Secretary with independent advice on issues relating to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and changes to it under the new Directive. Interviews for the position were due to take place at the end of March and an announcement on the appointment is expected at any time. Experimental Design FRAME will pass on its expertise in experimental design at a workshop during a course aimed at researchers who work with laboratory mice. The workshop will be based on FRAME’s highly successful training schools in experimental design and statistics (see page 9) and will pass on techniques and skills taught there. The schools are designed to help researchers gain maximum information from the minimum number of animals. When scientists carry out experiments it is vitally important that they are well designed, otherwise they may waste resources or give the wrong New Alternatives Research Centre A new research centre, the Centre for Alternative Testing and In Vitro Monitoring (CATIM), a European Regional Development Fund Business Technology Centre for the South West, has been established at the University of the West of England. CATIM is dedicated to the development of technologies for monitoring cells and cell systems. It will offer state-of-the-art testing facilities and expertise for businesses, supporting the development and evaluation of the biocompatibility and biological potency of new products. Published by FRAME Russell and Burch House, 96–98 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham NG1 4EE Phone: 0115 958 4740 www.frame.org.uk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Registered Charity No. 259464 Join the FRAME emailing list If you would like to receive regular emails from FRAME simply sign up with MailChimp at http://eepurl.com/hvoVQ . Or visit our website www.frame.org.uk and scroll down the front page to find the link. All we need is your name and your email address. We promise not to swamp you with messages and you can opt out at any time. We will only use the information to send you news and updates and we will never pass on your details to anyone else.