Animal research remains essential for advancing our understanding of the body functioning and pathophysiological mechanisms leading to diseases, and thus developing new medicines and veterinary medicines. Many of the medical breakthroughs we take for granted today – including vaccines, antibiotics, antinociceptive drugs, antidepressive drugs, or anti-cancer drugsugs – would not have been possible without research involving animals.
Prior to designing any study which utilizes animals, we verify whether alternatives to intact animal usage will provide acceptable results. We employ a wide range of non-animal experimental technologies in our research including cell and tissue culture systems, medical imaging.
However, some studies can only be undertaken in a whole animal, for example, when considering complex interactions between environment and genes, when evaluation how genetic mutations affect multiple organs, or when studying higher brain functions such as learning and memory and related diseases.
All research involving animals is governed by the European Directive 2010/063/EU of September 23, 2010. The law states that animals can only be used in research where there are no reliable alternatives available, and taking into consideration the 3R’s - the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement - which are applied in every area of animal research. In addition research using animals is performed by staff who pursued regulatory training and are competent in performing specific technical skills.
The establishment where animals are used possess a license from the government, and each project using animals should have a project license prior conducting any experiment. The license is delivered by the ministry of agriculture following an Ethic’s committee advice. The principal investigator details the research that will be carried out and justify the use of animals.