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The future of animal research in Europe & Final discussion 11:00 - 12:30


Luisa Lanfrancone (Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, Italy)

Marieke van de Ven (Netherlands Cancer Institute, The Netherlands)

Rob Clarke (University of Manchester, UK)

Steven de Jong (University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands)


The future of animal research in Europe


Lluis Montoliu (National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) and CIBER of Rare Diseases (CIBERER-ISCIII), Madrid, Spain)

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The use of animals in experiments in Biology, Biotechnology and, particularly, in Biomedicine is one of the most regulated scientific activities existing nowadays. In Europe, within the European Union, we are all obliged to comply with the Directive 2010/63/EU that was transposed and adopted by the national regulations of all members states. These collection of norms and rules ensure that animal experimentation can only be applied in registered centers, by trained personnel with the adequate license, and only after obtaining the corresponding ad hoc permission for each and every experiment involving live animals. Furthermore, the main purpose and ultimate goal of these laws is to terminate with animal experimentation whenever it would scientifically possible to do so. In the meantime, all member states must promote the development of alternative methods, which, upon validation should progressively substitute animal experiments as much as possible. This is the current scenario of animal experimentation in Europe. However, the groups discussing the use of animals in biomedical experiments are not satisfied and continuously request further replacement, reduction and refinement of these methods involving animals and are pressing the EU Parliament for adopting decisions to communicate to the EU Commission for accelerating the termination of animal experiments. We are not yet there. Even though much has been advanced concerning the use of cell cultures, in silico experiments, organoids and 3D-bioprinted organs, the reality is that most of the basic research experiments are still heavily dependent on animal experimentation. This fact should be communicated, with full transparency, to all EU citizens. At the same time, we, researchers, must be sensitive to societal requests and try to replace, reduce and refine whenever and wherever possible in our experiments. There is still a need for unavoidable animal experiments. It would be fantastic if these procedures could be replaced by non-animal derived methods. But this is not realistic yet. And the current situation must be communicated to the public openly, and responding to all questions and doubts they might have.


Opportunities for 3R approaches offered by European Research Infrastructures Services

Enzo Medico (University of Torino, Candiolo Cancer Institute IRCCS, Italy)

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Research Infrastructures (RIs) have emerged as valuable assets to foster efficient oncology research and strengthen the cancer innovation ecosystem. Through the EU-funded ‘canSERV’ project, eighteen European RIs are assembling a comprehensive portfolio of oncology-related RI services available to all EU member- and associated countries. At least 200 different unique cutting-edge services for cancer research will be made available in the next 3 years. Customised and combined workflows consisting of multiple services from multiple RIs will be offered as part of this project. Among them, a series of key services will be aimed at supporting generation and use of preclinical cancer models both in vivo and in vitro, including e.g. genetically modified mice, PDX, organoids, plus support for low-scale and high-throughput drug efficacy studies, molecular profiling, advanced in vivo and in vitro imaging. Such services will be of particular interest for young investigators operating in structures where the needed technological expertise and related facilities are not available.


Panel discussion