Use of animals in Research

Severity categories, GM animals and ASPA

Severity categories: The process of assigning a severity category to a protocol. It may be sub-threshold, mild, moderate, severe or non-recovery. It is based upon the greatest degree of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm likely to be experienced by any animal within that protocol after applying all appropriate refinement techniques t should be the highest level experienced at any point during the course of the procedure and should take into account any cumulative effects. 

Genetically modified animals raise additional ethical questions. Most rapidly growing element of animal use. Violation of the integrity of the organism’s genome. Unacceptable in the deontological and questionable from the strict utilitarian view. The modified utilitarian view would argue that in the absence of a harmful phenotype there is no difference from wild-type.

A(sp)A relies on sound ethical judgement Assessment of each project on a harm : Aim to reduce the harms, evaluate the likely benefits. Are the studies necessary? Are the experimental aims well defined and likely to yield clear answers?

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3 R's

Reduce the number of animals used to a minimum. 

Refine the way experiments are carried out, to make sure animals suffer as little as possible. 

Replace animal experiments with non-animal techniques wherever possible: Are there alternatives and are they being used? In silico modelling of structure-activity relationships for small molecules. Cell culture studies Use of human cells (and increasingly human IPS cells) Organs on a chip (mechanical and cellular elements) Most alternatives are cheaper and this is a strong incentive! However still very difficult to model all aspects of a whole organisms response to drug treatment. Micro-dosing in man. 

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