Responsible animal testing: Centro 3R set up in Italy
The Universities of Genoa and Pisa have recently set up in Italy Centro 3R-Interuniversitary Center for the Promotion of the Principles of the 3Rs in Teaching and Research, a new initiative on the Italian academic scenario which aims at starting a process for raising awareness of students, researchers and teachers of responsible experimentation and alternative methods to animal testing.
The 3Rs, a concept proposed for the first time by W. Russel e R. Burch in 1959, are the initials for Reduction (as few animals as possible should be used in each scientific test), Refinement (experiment should be designed to minimize the suffering of the animals used) and Replacement (alternative methods to animal testing of comparable validity should be considered when possible).
The centre aims at promoting courses based on the 3R principles, with the aim of training an increasingly responsible new generation of scientists, creating a virtual and "open" infrastructure with resources, news and services for teachers and researchers, implementing and promoting the use of new in-vitro integrated methods in basic and applied research; organizing courses, seminars, conferences and other dissemination activities on responsible animal testing.
“The European directive states that Member States shall ensure that, whenever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy, not entailing the use of live animals, shall be used instead of a procedure,” said Arti Ahluwalia, Director of Centro 3R and reference person for University of Pisa. “The implementation of Law Decree No. 26 requires an effort aimed at disseminating information and training in a context that can promote the development of increasingly adequate technology for scientifically valid research”.
“To reach this goal”, said Anna Maria Bassi, Vice-Director of Centro 3R and reference person for University of Genoa, “it is crucial to involve young researchers in testing new in-vitro, in-vivo and in-silico techniques, to protect human and animal health, as well as the ecosystem”.
The research infrastructure, already joined by 60 researchers and teachers from the two universities involved, also intends to promote technology transfer between the academic and business worlds, by developing joint R&D projects on 3R-related topics. The new centre website will also implement resources for research and education on responsible animal testing.