And the prize goes to...
Each year the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) awards a prize for innovative research which has an impact on the use of animals in life sciences. Sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, the prize consists of a grant of £10k, plus a personal award of £1k.
This week the result of the 2008 prize was announced, as decided by a prestigious panel of scientists. The recipients, Dr Keith Martin and Tom Johnson from the Centre for Brain Repair at the University of Cambridge, were awarded the prize for their work which looks at the potential of stem cells to help treat sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is affects around 60 million people worldwide, and is the second biggest cause of blindness globally.
Keith Martin and Tom Johnson have pioneered a new method of using tissue that replaces the need for experiments on live animals. The new method has also brought about an eight-fold reduction in the number of animals used, because eight sections of tissue can be obtained from one rat.
Phil Willis, chair of the House of Commons science select committee presented the prize at a ceremony in London. In his speech, he praised the work noting that as well as making a significant breakthrough in glaucoma treatments, “The work of these outstanding scientists demonstrates graphically the value of engaging with the NC3Rs and that science can be enhanced, not hindered, by considering animal welfare issues.”
Understanding Animal Research applauds the NC3Rs in their work. This prize demonstrates the excellent work being done by the scientific community on the 3Rs. This year is the 50th anniversary of the 3Rs concept, and we look forward to other events to mark the progress made so far and encourage future development.
Dr Vicky Robinson, chief executive of the NC3Rs, said: “This is exactly the type of outcome which the NC3Rs is committed to delivering across the life sciences and a great example of what can be achieved by applying the 3Rs.”
Because of the high quality of entries for the 3Rs Prize, the selection panel also awarded two Highly Commended prizes to Charalambos Tymvios from Imperial College London, and Dr Jenny Morton from University of Cambridge.