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Replace Primate experiments with Validated Alternatives in Europe

Von: TONY-GAL (from_tpg@hotmail.co.uk) [Profil]
Datum: 01.12.2008 17:48
Message-ID: <1a87a80a-1214-4e47-b309-b398f7b45d32@t2g2000yqm.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: alt.animals
Europe is at a critical stage and decisions are being made which
can protect our health and develop new medicines by embracing
new technology or remain in the past with continued dependence
on primate experiments. A public hearing on primate research from
the EU Science Committee on sixth November has been criticized
as ignoring clear scientific evidence of its limitations and ignoring
the potential of advanced alternative techniques. The hearing was
requested by the European Commission in light of their proposal
at the start of November for the review of Directive 86/609 which
controls animal experiments. They are under pressure to introduce
a timetable for the phasing out of primate experiments, an intention
already overwhelmingly backed by MEPs with Written Declaration
40/2007 last year. Despite this their proposal only includes a ban
on testing Great Apes and wild caught monkeys and experiments
on other primates, which is nearly all of the 10,500 yearly used in
Europe, is still allowed. Significantly the ban on Great Apes has a
loophole preventing it from being final. This has been described as
a missed opportunity by many scientists and welfare organizations.

Most of the scientific procedures with primates, mainly macaques,
are for drug development, neurological research and safety testing
of vaccines. For drug development, human microdosing methods
such as accelerator mass spectrometry are proven replacements.
They have the added advantage of being useful at the earliest
stages of research and studies have shown that they are highly
successful in predicting the effects of drugs even at low dosages.
They have been approved by the European Medicines Evaluation
Agency and are employed by many of the major pharmaceutical
companies. Other alternatives available that need more support
include molecular methods for vaccine testing and magnetic
resonance imaging for neurological research. Still more are
In Vitro, using samples of human skin in test tubes to give
results within days, microdialysis and human genetic studies.

There has been limited success from research into major human
diseases using primates. The results have not translated well to
benefit humans. For example, twenty five years of using primates
for Aids research has failed to find treatments or cures. In fact, it
alternative technology that has produced the crucial breakthroughs
in understanding this disease. Total replacement of primates is
achievable with more research and development but the European
Commission are resisting progress in favour of maintaining the
status quo. Replacing primates in laboratories with alternatives is
not simply a humane goal but a scientifically sound one.

One new technology improving rapidly is human neuroimaging
according to a recent article published in the Neuroimage Journal.
This article is a collaboration of some of the UK's most respected
professors who, recognising that animal experiments were failing
to deliver, investigated their replacement with modern technology.
Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry pioneered
this technique to produce results in the study of pain symptoms
that years of animal research had not discovered.

The value of animal research is exaggerated by those who have
an interest in its preservation. It uses artificial methodology not
taking into account differences between human and non-human
anatomy. For these reasons it is an unreliable way to investigate
human diseases. The immense resources would be put to much
more effective, efficient and humane use when redirected to
alternative research more directly applicable to humans.

Our MEPs must realize that prmate testing can be replaced with
alternative technology, in the many cases when it has shown to
be an improvement. When more investment is needed to develop
these alternatives this must be made available. This issue must
be addressed when the revision of Directive 86/609 is debated
in parliament. They must also strive to ensure the first reading is
completed before April next year, when all attention will focus on
the June 2009 European Elections. If you agree this is urgent
please contact your MEPs and tell them so.

Further information from

Thank you for your time.

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