The work of scientists and campaigners from around the world to end animal testing is being celebrated in a special issue of FRAME’s peer-reviewed journal ATLA (Alternatives to Laboratory Animals) Journal.

Produced each year in collaboration with the Lush Prize, the largest annual prize fund rewarding initiatives to end animal testing for toxicology research, the special issue of ATLA is a reflective look at the work of last year’s Lush Prize winners. Copies will be distributed at the awards dinner later this week.

Included in the journal are the winners of the 2014 Lush Prize for Science, Professor Grafström, and Dr Kohonen from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. They report on the replacement of animal experiments through the bioinformatics-driven analysis of ‘omics’ data from human cell cultures. The team were awarded £50,000 by Lush Prize for their outstanding contribution to replacing animal testing.

Scientists from the Safer Medicines Trust provide an important discussion on the various barriers to the uptake of human-based test methods, and crucially, how to overcome them.

The Young Researcher Prize funds young scientists in their careers using non-animal methods. The 2014 winners, from Brazil, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and Denmark explain what winning the prize means to them, such as support and recognition from colleagues as well as funding research. Dr Róber Bachinski of Fluminense University, Brazil, commented:
“The prize gave visibility for researchers on alternative methods in Brazil. This theme is not well explored in Brazil, and the Lush Prize was important news in the country. For the education field, it is very important, because more students know about research on humane education and they come to ask for information, thus I can reach out to more institutions and regions in Brazil.”

The Lush Prize distributes £250,000 in funding every year to support the complete replacement of animal testing, particularly in toxicology. Prize categories aim to cover all areas necessary to achieve these aims: Science, Training, Public Awareness, Lobbying and Young Researchers. An additional prize, the Black Box, is on offer for a key breakthrough in human toxicity pathways research. A Black Box winner would be awarded the whole £250,000. Lush Prize is a ‘one R’ prize, funding only complete replacement rather than refinement and reduction of animal tests.

In the past three years Lush Prize has given £750,000 to 37 amazing projects in 19 countries, including Kenya, Brazil, India, Russia, Bulgaria and Taiwan, as well as many in Europe. Past winners have included: Institute for In Vitro Sciences, InterNICHE, QSAR and Molecular Modelling Group at Liverpool John Moores University, XCellR8 and the Laboratory of Mathematical Chemistry in Bulgaria.

The 2015 prize winners will be announced tomorrow night (20 November), when scientists and campaigners from around the world will attend the Lush Prize Conference and Awards Ceremony in London to hear from the winners.

Craig Redmond of Lush Prize, said: “Now in our fourth year, the Lush Prize has been able to reward fantastic and crucial initiatives around the world to end animal testing and replace it with non-animal 21st century science, where research is more relevant. Our collaboration with ATLA on this special issue is always well received and is an important way in which we can keep open the dialogue and enthusiasm for complete replacement of animal experiments.”

Susan Trigwell, ATLA Associate Editor commented: “ATLA has published new and effective research into alternatives to animal testing for more than 30 years. The Lush Prize rewards ground breaking work by those investigating and promoting non-animal testing methods. ATLA is pleased to be able to help disseminate news of the progress being made.”

ATLA is published by FRAME and has been a key scientific journal in the field of laboratory animal alternatives for more than 30 years. Circulated worldwide, ATLA is distributed to individuals, organisations and institutions. It covers the latest research relating to alternatives to the use of laboratory animals.

The Lush Prize www.lushprize.org is a partnership between Lush Cosmetics and Ethical Consumer Research Association to support animal-free toxicology and is designed to reward groups or individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, awareness-raising and lobbying to help bring an end to animal testing. The £250,000 annual prize fund (provided by Lush Cosmetics) is the biggest prize in the non-animal testing sector, and the ONLY one to focus solely on the replacement of animal tests. It seeks to focus pressure on safety testing for consumer products in a way that complements projects already addressing the animal testing of medicines.