Record amount awarded for research to reduce animal experiments

26 July 2012

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Category: Animal welfare & alternatives

ferret–lab.jpgThe NC3Rs has today announced 21 new grants totalling £5.1 million for research to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in science – referred to as 'the 3Rs’. This is the largest single allocation of funding ever made for 3Rs research in the UK.

The latest funding is for projects that will find new ways to advance the 3Rs in a wide range of research programmes in which animals are used, from the causes of cancer and liver fibrosis to understanding the transmission of influenza virus and the effect of drugs on bone formation during osteoporosis. Many of the projects involve multi-disciplinary teams, with biologists working with computational and mathematical modellers through to animal behaviour experts collaborating with neuroscientists.

Much of the new research focuses on developing and utilising cutting edge techniques, such as a novel nebuliser and cell culture system that will replace ferrets used for influenza research, and adapting MR Elastography, a non-invasive imaging technology which measures the elasticity of tissues, to take heart function measurements in rodents. Innovative approaches will also be used to assess the welfare of non-human primates used in neuroscience research, including measuring the changes in the length of the ends of chromosomes in white blood cells as a novel marker of chronic stress.

A record amount has been awarded this year, after additional contributions from the core funders of the NC3Rs – the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).