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Research

Replacement

Animals should only be used in research when no alternatives are available.

To ensure that we only use animals when it is essential, we:

  • require any applicant for a Home Office project licence for the use of animals to show us that they have fully considered non-animal methods and have also checked available resources for alternatives
  • regularly inform our researchers about developments in non-animal methods, such as computer modelling, cell and tissue-based research, and the use of imaging technology
  • encourage our staff to exchange views and share new ideas with experts in the replacement of animals in scientific research.

Replacement case study: QM+Emulate's Organs-on-Chips Centre aims to revolutionise medical research

Emulate's organs-on-chips technology. Credit: Emulate

The new QM+ Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre (established with the US company Emulate Inc) uses micro-engineered chips to recreate the human response of different organs by incorporating different types of cells and tissues cultured under continuous fluid flow and mechanical forces, such as cyclic breathing and peristalsis, which create the microenvironment that cells experience in the body.

Organs-on-Chips (pictured) contain tiny hollow channels lined by living human cells. As miniaturised living systems with human cells, Organs-on-Chips can predict human responses with greater precision and detail than cell culture or animal-based testing. This knowledge can be used in a laboratory to test drugs and understand how the body works.

The Organs-on-Chips can improve the testing of new drugs or therapies to predict their safety and efficacy in the human body. These living, microengineered systems also offer the potential to reduce the reliance on animal testing.

This pioneering Centre is open to academic staff across the UK. It is also representative of Queen Mary's commitment to the 3Rs – and to finding alternatives to animal research wherever possible.