Push continues to reduce reliance on animal research methods 

FRAME, a medical research charity that aims to reduce the number of animals used in scientific testing, has awarded a total of £29,000 to three projects with the potential to replace animal use in biomedical research. 

The award 

FRAME’s innovation grant funding stream is designed to provide small grants to enable the next generation of scientists to explore innovative ideas and generate proof of principle, to support applications for larger grants in the future. 

The projects 

The three projects awarded with FRAME’s funding include: 

  1. Research to develop a new cell line for investigating early development of ovarian cancer, led by Dr Barbara Guinn at the University of Hull 
  2. A project creating a non-biological model that more accurately represents the conditions of the human lungs specifically to study the effectiveness of inhaled antibiotics, led by Dr Hisham Al-Obaidi at the University of Reading 
  3. Research that will use 3D printing technology to create physiologically relevant materials which can be used to recreate biological and physical aspects of the smallest blood vessels in the body, with the aim of creating a more accurate model for investigating drug delivery to tissue, led by Dr Roger Domingo-Roca at the University of Strathclyde. 

All these projects have the potential to reduce the reliance on current animal research methods, as well as provide new routes to obtaining more reliable human-relevant data that may increase scientific progress and understanding. 

Official comments 

Of the Innovation Grant funding stream, FRAME CEO Celean Camp said: “At FRAME, we believe that the accepted practice of using animals for researching human drugs and diseases is fundamentally flawed; however viable human-focussed methods do not yet exist in all areas to replace animal-based tests. Over the past two years, through conversations with scientists in the field and research into current grant schemes, we identified a gap in funding specifically for early-stage research ideas, particularly those that focus on human biology, human tissue or computer modelling and have the potential to provide more relevant data in biomedical research.” 

“Following our grant call, we were delighted to receive many diverse and fascinating applications from various research areas,” Celean continued. “The panel had the challenging job of assessing which methods were the most innovative and likely to advance the replacement of animal research methods in line with FRAME’s mission. After much deliberation, a total of £29,000 was awarded to three pioneering projects, which will be carried out this year.” 

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