The EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published its latest report on Advanced Non-animal Models in Biomedical Research, focused on autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
The document is the final instalment in a series of seven JRC reports on animal research alternatives, aimed at providing scientific evidence to support European policymaking.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system cannot distinguish between the body’s own cells and foreign cells, leading it to attack healthy cells, tissues and organs.
The report reviewed 183 research papers published in journals (2014 - 2019), which used human-based alternative methods to animal research, to uncover disease mechanisms and potential drug targets – those two research areas made up 80% of the total.
The JRC reported that just 7.5% of the studies demonstrated a ‘high output' in terms of performance and biological information and 83% were a ‘low output’.
However, the report said that their implementation was directly addressing the scientific hypothesis of the authors, providing direct biological relevance to the model.
The analysis also revealed that the types of autoimmune diseases most frequently investigated did not correlate with the most prevalent diseases occurring in the population.