Statement on the use of animals in research

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LifeArc progresses promising early-stage science to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing human health. We do this by funding science, forming partnerships, and providing scientific and Intellectual Property protection services.

We believe the use of animals in scientific research is sometimes a necessary tool in improving our understanding of how biological systems work both in health and disease, and in the development of new medicines, treatments, and technologies.

We do not take the decision to do or fund such research lightly. LifeArc does or funds research that uses animals only if it is legal, ethical, scientifically justified, and crucially, there is no reasonable alternative to allow the research to progress in any other way.

All our research and the research we fund must comply with the NC3Rs standards to refine, reduce, and replace the use of animals in research. We apply our strict standards thoroughly, including:

  • if researchers within or funded by LifeArc plan to collaborate with other laboratories or use a contract research organisation
  • on recipients of LifeArc materials
  • on any projects supporting LifeArc Translational Challenges or translational sciences platform development or any other experiments commissioned by LifeArc requiring the use of animals

In all cases, the scientific project leader or lead scientist must seek approval from LifeArc’s Scientific Ethical Review Committee (SERC). The committee will review proposed animal experiments to ensure that they adhere to the NC3Rs principles.  Moreover, SERC approval ensures that proposed studies comply strictly with Home Office (HO) legislation and regulatory requirements, and that all institutes involved have the requisite accreditation.

Researchers must advise LifeArc if their use of animals change during their funding (this should form part of the funding agreement). For example, if the number of animals they use is significantly more than the number LifeArc funded.

While the majority of the public accept that research using animals is necessary as long as there are no alternatives and suffering is minimised, we understand that not everybody is comfortable with the use of animals in research. We work with our researchers and the researchers we fund to promote public debate and dialogue regarding the use of animals in medical research.

We are committed to openness and transparency around the use of animals in research. We continually review own scientific and funding practices and engage with the wider scientific community to encourage better practice and development of animal alternatives.

As a signatory to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, we will:

  • be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
  • enhance our communications with the media and public about our research using animals
  • be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
  • report on progress annually and share our experiences
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