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Centre for replacement of animal research launched at QMUL

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) on Monday (24 October) launched The Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (The ARC), a joint venture aiming to develop new treatments using non-animal research methods.

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Funded by a £1m investment by the DHT and based at QMUL’s Blizard Institute, the ARC will carry out research into skin, breast and prostate cancer. 

Through the investment, QMUL’s Professor Mike Philpott and Dr Adrian Biddle will use cutting edge scientific research to accelerate the development of human models for human disease and help reduce the number of animals currently used in cancer research.

Launched by Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan, who is a DHT Patron, the centre aims to further develop the most robust and applicable non-animal research methods for human cancer, addressing limitations of current cell-based approaches and animal models.

Professor Mike Philpott, Director of the Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence at QMUL said: “The Blizard Institute has an international reputation for research and teaching excellence and has pioneered the development of three-dimensional models to study human disease, particularly important when helping us to understand human skin biology and cancer. We would like to express our thanks to the Dr Hadwen Trust for their commitment and generous support enabling us to advance human models for human disease.”

Professor Steve Thornton, Vice Principal (Health) at QMUL said: “This new collaboration represents an exciting opportunity to further our research into using human models to find better ways of preventing and treating human diseases. While it is not possible to avoid using animals for some aspects of medical research, we remain committed to the principle of the“3Rs” – reducing the number of animals needed, refining the tests to cause the least possible distress to animals and replacing the use of animals wherever possible. The work funded by the DHT will help us in meeting these important commitments.”

Dr Brett Cochrane, Science Director at DHT said: “The Blizard Institute and The ARC perfectly embody the innovation, collaboration and interdisciplinary research excellence required to successfully develop, validate and apply human-based models of disease. This is animal-replacement science at its finest.”

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