Is it true that with new technologies we can avoid sacrificing animals?
Many are convinced that "alternative methods" are the solution to totally avoid the use of animals for pharmaceutical and biomedical experimentation. Currently, only alternative or "complementary" methods, such as computer simulations or in vitro (ie "test tube") cell studies, are unable to adequately reproduce the numerous interactions between cells, organs and systems that occur in complex organisms.
The "alternative methods" can be understood both as a complete replacement of the animal model with a non-sentient model, but can also be understood as a use of the animal model that takes into account the principles of the three "R" (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement - Replacement, Reduction and Improvement). Among the complementary methods available to researchers we mention the experimentation on cells, which allows to reduce the number of substances to be tested on animals, and computer simulations. The new European directive 2010/63 / EU on animal experimentation establishes that it is always it is necessary to apply for an "authorization for the use of animals used for experimental purposes and promotes the development and application of alternative methods in accordance with the three" R "principle. However, there is still a long way to go.
1. Available on the website: Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS)