EARA member Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in Germany, is funding 10 new research projects that align with the 3Rs principle of replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in scientific research.
Charité aims to improve how biomedical research using animals is translated into research on humans, as well as animal welfare practice.
Professor Joachim Spranger explained that as animal studies remain one of Charité’s key tools in biomedical research, ‘..we at Charité feel a particular sense of duty to forge ahead with the search for new experimental methods and models and make every effort to improve animal testing where it is necessary and reduce and replace this testing wherever possible’.
Co-ordinated by Charité’s 3R centre, the projects will each address one of the following objectives:
Using human tissue to develop alternative models – such as brain organoids derived from human stem cells to study the rare genetic disease SynGAP1 Syndrome;
Improving conditions for lab animals, including better ways to keep rats;
Reducing the number of laboratory animals – for example by using ‘wildling’ mice, which have a more natural microbiome (gut environment) than lab mice, to investigate mechanisms of disease.
Meanwhile, also on the subject of the use of mice in the lab, The New Yorker has explored their relative merits as a research model in a recent article in The Case for Free-Range Lab Mice.