Using human volunteers
FRAME believes that animals should not be used to test products that can be safely tested using human volunteers and supports the use of donated human tissues and cells for use in research that replaces animal experiments.
Human information, such as genetic data and medical records are sources of information that can be used in medical research. With the proper safeguards, FRAME believes this information may be of enormous benefit to understanding human diseases.
FRAME collaborates with several organisations to increase the safe and ethical use of human volunteers as an alternative to using animals, in both basic research and in safety testing. FRAME has also made a number of suggestions to the Department of Health as to how the safety of volunteers can be improved by better test design and more relevant preclinical studies.
Human tissues can be used in many different ways in medical research and in many cases the tests can be more relevant than using animals. In some cases, animal studies can give misleading results about how substances such as drugs will affect humans.
There is a formal procedure for acquiring and distributing human tissue that takes account of the ethical, legal and scientific aspects. Often tissues and organs that are offered for transplant are unsuitable for that purpose but could be used for research, if the donor, or the relatives, give their consent.
Volunteer studies may involve giving very low doses of a new medicine to human volunteers during very early microdosing studies. It is even possible that human microdosing studies can be performed before animal experiments, and might be useful in deciding which laboratory species would be the most relevant to use. This will improve the safety of new products and may also reduce the number of animals used in toxicity and safety testing.
New formulations of cosmetic products can be safely tested using human volunteers. The EU Cosmetics Directive no longer allows cosmetic products to be tested on animals. There are some exemptions for tests on cosmetic ingredients.