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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Past research projects

notesFRAME has conducted many studies examining the use of animals in laboratory research and investigating the Three Rs can be implemented. Our findings are promoted in many ways, including through representation on national and international expert  committees, many of which were formed by FRAME to address specific scientific questions.  Here are some past projects:



Nanotechnology has permeated several key markets with the fastest and highest uptake in development of medicinal products, medical devices and healthcare products. Regulatory testing guidelines were developed before nanotechnologies were even conceptualised and have had no reforms. FRAME’s work investigates whether the animal models currently used can simulate human nanotoxicity. If not, there is concern that regulators will call for a greater number of animal studies.


Alternative In Vivo Models

fishSeveral organisms are useful in vivo models and can replace rodents in some experiments, particularly those involving genetic modification. Successful research has used fungi, plants, invertebrates, and the embryonic/larval stages of some vertebrates. FRAME aims to highlight the benefits and drawbacks of specific alternative in vivo models in order to maximise their potential.

Non-human Primates

eyesFRAME calls for an end to the use of primates in research and testing. FRAME has investigated the reliability of primate models and  justifications for their use, and examined the feasibility of replacing them with alternative methods now and in the future. Projects included; a report on replacing primate malaria models, a submission to a EC opinion on the need for primates in research and testing and an ongoing PhD examining primate use in various fields of research.



pillsFRAME has examined merits of rational design and alternative strategies for immunotoxicity testing with reference to outcomes of preclinical and clinical studies of biopharmaceuticals. More than 150 protein biopharmaceuticals are currently approved for clinical use. Few animal studies are able to predict potential outcomes in a way that is useful for estimating risk for entire patient populations.

Genetic Modification

FRAME is concerned about the use of genetically modified because many suffer deformities and diseases as a result of the production techniques as well as having the pain and distress of the disease they have been designed to exhibit. FRAME has been actively involved in addressing transgenic animal welfare and the validity of their use as models of human diseases.


Models of Psychiatric Diseases

Depression and schizophrenia can be severe and are relatively common conditions. Since their causes are mostly unknown and the treatment options are limited, research is carried out to gain a better understanding of the diseases and develop new drugs. The efficacy of novel compounds is usually determined on inbred and genetically modified rodents. FRAME investigated the relevance of these animal models for the study of such complex human psychiatric disorders.