timeline

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2000s – Human Genome Project successfully maps human DNA

In June 2006 it was announced that the first working draft of the full human DNA sequence had been released by the Human Genome Project. In the years following researchers all over the world have used this resource to gain insight into a number of fields while reducing the need for animal testing. By studying [...]

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1996 – First successful mammal cloning – Dolly the Sheep

In July 1996, the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh accomplished one of the greatest and most controversial feats in modern science with the successful cloning of a mammalian adult cell. Dolly the sheep would be the first mammal born via the process of somatic cell transfer and would provide insight into the possibilities [...]

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1991 – Formation of ECVAM

In 1991 the European Union conceptualised the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and, under the stewardship of Michael Balls, became an operational research unit in 1992. Based in Ispra, Italy ECVAM’s ‘main goal is to promote the scientific and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods which are of importance to the biosciences [...]

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1991 – LD50 test banned

The highly controversial Median Lethal Dose Test, or LD50, was developed by J. W. Trevan in 1927 as a means to determine characteristics in acute toxicity. However, due to the necessity to terminate large numbers of test subjects as a requisite of the test it received heavy criticism. In 1991 the UK Government decided upon [...]

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1986 – Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act passed in UK

The United Kingdom would take a major step forward in 1986 when it replaced the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1887 with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. Distinguishing itself from the original Act, ASPA was implemented to specifically regulate the use of animals for research purposes. Under the direction of the Home Office, ASPA clearly [...]

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1980s – Development of various computer models

The 1980s saw a huge drive towards the use of computer simulation and modelling software to reduce or replace the need for live animals in testing. The capacity for computers to help in diagnosing, imagery, recording, statistical analysis, and simulation provides researchers with a tool to greatly improve the efficiency, speed, and use of animals [...]

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1980s – CR, MRI, and colour Doppler ultrasound imaging developed

Major advancements in medical imagery took place in the 1980s with the advent of Computer Radiology, Medical Resonance Imaging, and Colour Doppler ultrasound. Each technology varies in its conception and applications, yet all would prove pivotal in the movement towards non-invasive techniques for diagnosis, surgery, and drug testing.

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1978 – Synthetic production of human insulin

Prior to 1978, insulin for human use was purified from animal sources, commonly pigs or dogs. It was the work conducted by researchers at Genentech and City of Hope Medical Research Centre that would provide the progression away from the necessity for animals to produce insulin by successfully synthesising ‘human-insulin’. By editing the DNA of [...]

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1978 – First human stem cells discovered

Stem cell research shifted to humans in 1978 when Dr Gregor Pindull published findings of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in human cord blood. Previous work had been able to identify similar cells in other mammalian species. This was the first observation of human stem cells that would give rise to similar cells and signalled an [...]

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1977 – First alternatives developed for skin irritants

Prior to 1977, tests for epidermal responses to substances were carried out primarily on animals, which generally produced misleading results. In order to effectively, and safely, investigate reactions in human subjects Griffith and Buehler developed the ‘repeated-insult patch test’. By concentrating and localising samples of the substance to a small, confined grid of 12mm, researchers [...]

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