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  1. Lush Prize 2020 Conference and Awards Ceremony

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    We are delighted to announce the Lush Prize 2020 Conference and Awards Ceremony.

    Delayed from May due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the events will now be held online over two days, on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 November 2020.

    The great news is that more people can virtually attend from anywhere in the world. The Conference is being held over two days to ensure more people from across differing time zones can participate.

    The Conference runs 1pm – 3.40pm (UK time) on both days. The theme is ‘Can Big Data Replace Animal Testing?‘ (see below for more details), and will include discussions on ‘Paving the way from big data to regulatory acceptance’, and ‘The role of big data in next generation risk assessment’. Speakers will include winners from this year and previous years.

    The Awards Ceremony will be at 4pm – 5pm (UK time) on Wednesday 11th, where we will be celebrating all of the winning and commended projects from this year and awarding a total £250,000 prize money to scientists and campaigners from around the world to support their initiatives to end animal testing.

     
    Free Registration for the Conference and Awards

    For free attendance to the Conference, sign up here on Eventbrite and you will receive more details closer to the event.

    We will announce registration details for the Awards ceremony soon.

     

    How can big data replace animal testing?

    The 2020 Lush Prize Conference will include presentations on big data related approaches, as well as discussion of their critical importance to Covid-19 research.

    Big data is the term given to the process of extracting and analysing large quantities of data. This could be from large ‘platforms’ which may be open access or specific data libraries. Cutting edge advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning aid big data analysis in new ways.

    Big data is used in many ways, not only for science, but business, finance or technology (e.g. cloud computing) and the ‘mining’ of big data can find predictive trends or patterns to a far higher quality and speed, where other methods fail.

    Animal tests are still considered by many to be the ‘gold standard’ for the safety testing of chemicals. However, machine learning of toxicity test databases allows vast quantities of data to be read and compared using computational modelling to make predictions of chemical safety (a process known as ‘read across’).

    This not only improves quality and reliability, but is shown to outperform toxicity tests in animals, which are known to have a limited ability to predict human safety to test substances. Comparing data for many known substances has also demonstrated the high reliability of the computer models used.

    Big data analysis has the potential to replace animal use not only in chemicals testing, but disease research too. For example, the mining of biological data, genetic sequences and data from human populations has far greater capacity to investigate and understand disease, providing not only more human relevant – but individual patient relevant – information than animal models, which remain severely limited in their ability to replicate human disease.

     

    8 September 2020
  2. Doctors Against Animal Experiments talk about COVID-19

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    Merle Büter attended a webinar in April for Lush Prize, and has translated the main points for English readers.

    Doctors Against Animal Experiments (Ärzte gegen Tierversuche) is a German campaigning organisation that has been shortlisted for a Lush Prize several times. Dr Tamara Zietek of DAAE held a webinar recently on the topic of ‘Corona shows why we need research without animal testing’. The webinar is available on Youtube in German.

    Directed at a non-scientific audience, Zietek provided two reasons why animal experiments should be replaced: Firstly, she argued that animal experiments had poor predictivity for human medicine, and secondly, that there are already better methods such as the multi-organ-chip and lung organoids available. However, they require more research and funding.

    Research situation in Germany 

    In her webinar, Zietek cited several newspaper articles around breakthroughs in animal experiments in the urgent race to find a vaccination for COVID-19. It is important to understand that animals are tested for safety of the vaccine and the dosage but not effectiveness (efficacy). The latter is impossible as animal experiments have such poor predictivity and efficacy is better measured in larger scale human trials.

    The question that we need to ask is “Are animal experiments a good model to find out whether substances are secure for humans?”. Zietek answers this with a firm “no” and explains that rats, for example, tolerate 300 times more asbestos than humans. This is just one example of how rats are not a good model for humans and yet they have been one of the most widely used species in animal experiments for decades. Another pressing issue is the concern about how many potentially useful therapies have not progressed to human trials because they are inefficient in animal experiments. There are several examples of medication and substances that have proven helpful for humans but are toxic or deadly for animals, although are available for use as they were marketed before modern drug testing regulatory requirements in animals (known as ‘preclinical’ tests) (see table 1). This means that there are unexplored therapies for humans, because they were tested but eliminated based on animal tests.

    Table 1: Substances and medication which are useful for humans but have had a toxic or deadly effect on animals. Source: Webinar

    Animal safety tests have a failure rate of 80-90% 

    A study from the Friedrich-Löffler-Institute announced that ferrets are a suitable infection model to test for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. The three reasons mentioned in the press release are that ferrets get infected with the coronavirus, they multiply the virus in their upper airways and they infect their conspecifics. However, unlike humans, ferrets do not show any kind of symptoms, which is critical. In the past, ferrets have generally been seen as a suitable model for all kinds of airway infections. Zietek referred to a study that analysed ‘success’ rates in drug development between 2006 and 2015. A drug has to run through up to four stages of testing. The process entails a preclinical phase (animal experiments with two different species, a rodent species (usually rat or mouse) and a non-rodent species (usually dog or monkey)), followed by one to three clinical phases with humans before a drug  may be launched. The result of the study showed that only 12.8% of drugs were launched following trial. This means that in 87.2% of drugs considered successful in animal tests, the drugs failed human trials and were therefore not allowed to be sold. The study author concludes that animal experiments are very poorly predictive and  generally unreliable for humans, demonstrated by a failure rate of 80-90% .

    The crisis of reproduction 

    Another problem is the so-called crisis of reproduction. Dr Stefanie Schindler from the association Humans for Animal Rights underlines in her webinar how academic publications about animal trials are not reliable and not helpful in increasing the knowledge of the scientific community (The webinar is available on Youtube in German). In theory, researchers should be able to rely and build upon the findings of other scientists as a foundation for progress. In reality, studies have proven not to be as reliable as anticipated. Researcher Glenn C. Begley repeated in 2011 the tests of 53 published studies in academic journals (published here). In 47 of the 53 studies, the result was not the same as published. Published studies in journals aim to create universal standards and to contribute to research progress. Begley concludes that this is not the case in the current system.

    The company Bayer also checked their published results and came to a similar conclusion: 65% of the studies are not consistent. Schindler explains that these findings are shocking but not surprising given the flaws of  animal research. There could be several reasons for the inconsistent results: Animals are not standardised – not even inbred mice – because of intra-species differences in animals in genetics, age, sex and other factors , even in laboratories. Environmental factors such as food, light, noise, size of the cages, temperature, and the option of being allowed to build nests, affect the conditions of the mice. This is not documented in the publications and test results. All of these factors might lead to different developments in different laboratories. Also, data selection and the handling of “lost” animals (dead, injured, replaced) is not standardised and often not documented. There is also a vast amount of unsuccessful animal research which is not published. The unreliability of animal experiments is mobilising the doctors for alternatives and animal-free test methods.

    Only 1% of governmental funding is invested in animal-free testing

    More human-relevant, animal-free research is important, especially in times of COVID-19 and the increase of trials. Fortunately, there are already numerous alternatives out there or in development. For example lung organoids, three-dimensional cell models that are based on human cells. Also, the multi-organ-chip (MOC) or organ-on-a-chip-method are well established for many tests, e.g. tumour research (liver, lung, heart, brain, skin, pancreas, uterus, muscles, and kidney). The MOC system has a very high prediction rate for humans, uses a combination of in-vitro and in-silico (computer based) techniques and the effects of test substances can be seen directly on different organs.

    A common critique against earlier organ-on-a-chip-methods was a lack of  immune system, blood vessels and nerve cells – but the system is advancing on an ongoing basis and published research shows how these characteristics are being integrated to develop state of the art MOC test models. 

    However, funding continues to be a major issue to develop these methods further.  Zietek explains that there is not sufficient funding for research in Germany. Only 1% of governmental funding is invested in alternatives to animal experiments. This is stopping progress and development in this sector. Another block is that the World Health Organisation (WHO) presented in March 2020 “A coordinated global research roadmap: 2019 novel coronavirus” which aims to invest in and continue focus on animal experiments rather than alternative approaches. The lack of financial support in animal-free tests is criticised by Doctors Against Animal Experiments in Germany. The current agenda will not only continue to cause a lot of pain and suffering to animals, but the results will ultimately not lead to success. 

    Diagram: Governmental funding of animal-free tests is below 1% in Germany. Source: Webinar

    Campaign: “Withdrawal from animal experiments. NOW!” 

    In alliance with Humans for Animal Rights, Doctors Against Animal Experiments started the campaign “Withdrawal from animal experiments. NOW!” („Ausstieg aus dem Tierversuch. JETZT!“. Available in German). “Cruel and outdated”, is how the activists and doctors describe animal experiments and argue that they should not be part of science and research in the 21st Century. The campaign, which aims for a shift in German legislation, is supported by twelve German animal welfare and animal rights associations. Initially, the campaign was launched in January 2020 but the topic gained more urgency due to COVID-19. With the webinar series, the alliance gathered experts in certain aspects to show that animal experiments are not the answer. It is time for the German government to implement a strategic change in scientific research. The petition, which demands a shift of funding and an “exit plan” to eliminate animal experiments uses the  Netherlands’ Government plan as a model and has so far been signed by 13,900 people.

    The Netherlands as a role model

    In 2016, members of the Dutch government presented a comprehensive plan to phase out animal-based safety testing, requesting that by 2025, the use of animals in tests for vaccines, chemicals, food ingredients, pesticides, and veterinary medicines should end. A motion was also passed in parliament and discussions continue on the 2025 plan. According to PETA, the Netherlands are on their goal to lead the world in innovative animal-free science.”

     

    7 July 2020
  3. Lush Prize Previous Winner Updates

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    Winning a Lush Prize does not end with the receipt of the prize money and a trophy. We are always keen to remain in contact with winners, to hear about their ongoing work to end and replace animal testing, and to promote their activities.

    This post gives a brief round-up of news from just a few of the past Lush Prize winners around the world.

     

    BRAZIL:

    Marize Campos Valadares of the Laboratory of Education and Research in Pharmacology and Cellular Toxicology in Brazil won the Training Prize in 2018. Her lab is based at the Federal University of Goiás.

    During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Valadares’ facility and the equipment for RT-PCR analysis is now being used exclusively, in cooperation with other labs of the Federal University of Goiás, for the diagnosis of the COVID-19 in the State of Goiás.

    The lab has, however, recently published some papers in the journals Toxicology In-Vitro and Contact Dermatitis, related to the use of non-animal methods to evaluate eye toxicity and skin sensitization of ‘real-life mixtures’: see here, here and here.

    2015 Young Researcher winner Bianca Marigliani from Brazil co-authored a paper (click for link) ‘The Overt and Hidden Use of Animal-derived Products in Alternative Methods for Skin Sensitisation: A Systematic Review‘, as well as another on ‘Adaptation of a skin sensitization assay to a chemically defined culture‘ (click for link).

    Dr Marize Campos Valadares

     

    CHILE:

    2017 Public Awareness winner ONG Te Protejo, based in Chile but working throughout Latin America, have been supporting a Bill to ban animal testing of cosmetics in Mexico. This has now been endorsed by the Senate and passes to the Chamber of Deputies (media release – click here).

     

    FRANCE:

    Bob Diderich of the OECD’s Adverse Outcome Pathway programme in France, was one of the Lush Prize’s Black Box winners in 2015.

    He updated Lush Prize on some of the recent OECD developments:

    Development of a Defined Approach for Skin Sensitisation: The resulting OECD product will combine existing sources of information (results from in-vitro methods and computer predictions) to partially replace the use of the animal test, and enable end users to generate data that will be covered under the OECD Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) system.

    eChemPortal : Version 3.0 was launched in February 2020 and provides free access to health and environmental effects information prepared for government chemical management programs around the world. Improving accessibility to these data increases understanding of chemical hazards and risks and with increased data sharing can lead to a reduction in the need for animal testing. Free webinars and training events will be organised upon request

    OECD QSAR Toolbox: OECD and the European Chemicals Agency launched QSAR Toolbox version 4.4 in February 2020.

    The Toolbox is a free software application that supports reproducible and transparent chemical hazard assessment. It offers functionalities for retrieving experimental data, simulating metabolism and profiling properties of chemicals. These information and tools can be used to find structurally and mechanistically defined analogues and chemical categories, which can serve as sources for read-across and trend analysis for data gap filling. The use of such computational methods can reduce the need for de novo animal testing moving towards more predictive toxicology.

    Bob Diderich, OECD

     

    GERMANY / BELGIUM / USA:

    Scientists from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) published a recent Guest Editorial in the journal Archives of Toxicology on the power of novel animal-free test methods (NAMs) for the development of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

    The authors include three past Lush Prize winners: Francois Busquet (Lobbying Prize 2014), Giorgia Pallocca (Young Researcher 2016) and Marcel Leist (Science 2016).

    […] past investments into the development of new (animal-free) approach methods (NAM) for drug safety, efficacy, and quality evaluation can be leveraged. For this, we provide an overview of repurposing ideas to shortcut drug development times. Animal-based testing would be too lengthy, and it largely fails, when a pathogen is species-specific or if the desired drug is based on specific features of human biology. Fortunately, industry has already largely shifted to NAM, and some public funding programs have advanced the development of animal-free technologies.

    The open-access paper is available here.

    Giorgia Pallocca and Marcel Leist

     

    IRAN:

    The Iranian Anti-Vivisection Association (IAVA) won a Lush Prize for Training in 2016 for its work with universities across the country to demonstrate and introduce humane alternatives to animal use.

    Last year IAVA reported that animal use in research had been banned in all primary and secondary school classes, and scientific contests. IAVA are now working to expand this ban to the higher education system in the country.

    The Ministry of Science, Research and Education of Iran has declared such a ban (unless there are absolutely no alternatives) in an inter-institutional letter. Although this has not been put into practice yet fully, IAVA is working to support the implementing of this prohibition.

     

    LUXEMBOURG:

    Anna Monzel, a 2017 Young Researcher winner from the University of Luxembourg, has recently published a paper (click for link) with her colleagues, ‘Machine learning-assisted neurotoxicity prediction in human midbrain organoids‘.

    Anna Monzel

     

    UK:

    Kirkstall Ltd won a Lush Prize for Training in 2016. During the global COVID-19 pandemic the company partnered with the charity Animal Free Research UK to provide support scientists centred around the use of innovative organ-on-a-chip technology.

    This partnership included Kirkstall providing Quasi Vivo® cell test chambers, together with technical support, without charge to five research teams. Dr Malcolm Wilkinson, founder of Kirkstall, commented: “The devastating coronavirus pandemic highlights the urgent need to reduce the time and money we put into misleading animal models of disease and focus instead on human-based biology and human-relevant technology such as the Quasi Vivo® system.”

    Kirkstall was also one of nearly 100 experts, academics, and other concerned parties who signed an open letter in May 2020 calling for advanced non-animal research methods to be prioritised to accelerate the discovery and use of effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.

    Directed at the World Health Organization, governments, funding bodies, and regulators, the letter states that “significant funding and precious time is being spent on animal research…. despite the known species differences which make the results from such data unreliable when translated to humans.”

    Malcolm Wilkinson, Kirkstall

     

    Two previous winners have expanded their collaboration: UK-based in-vitro testing lab XCellR8 (winner of a Training Prize in 2013) and Swedish in-vitro test company SenzaGen (whose Chief Scientist Henrik Johansson was a Young Researcher winner in 2014) have signed an exclusive global licensing agreement covering the performance, marketing and sales of SenzaGen’s new, vegan skin sensitisation test, GARD®skin Animal Product-Free (media release – click here).

     

    Dr Alison Gray of AFABILITY won a Lush Prize for Public Awareness in 2017 for her work to replace animal-derived antibody production methods with Animal Friendly Affinity-reagents (AFAs) that do not require the use of animals, thereby significantly reducing the numbers and suffering of animals in the biomedical sciences.

    Dr Gray was also a member of the ESAC Working Group (EURL ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee) that recently published the new ‘EURL ECVAM recommendation on non-animal-derived antibodies’, which calls for an end to the use of animals for antibody development and production and for the recognition of the scientific validity of non-animal-derived antibodies.

    This ECVAM recommendation is covered in a separate blog – click here.

     

    29 May 2020
  4. Calls for end to use of animals in antibody development and production

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    The EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) has called for an end to the use of animals for antibody development and production and for the recognition of the scientific validity of non-animal-derived antibodies.

    EURL ECVAM is an integral part of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the science and knowledge service of the European Commission.

    Around one million animals are used for antibody generation and production every year in the European Union in procedures that cause severe suffering, despite non-animal-derived antibodies being available. The non-animal options are also more scientifically valid: JRC scientist Marlies Halder commented that “their use will greatly improve reproducibility and relevance of scientific procedures and lead to more efficient and effective use of research funds.”

    Maurice Whelan, head of EURL ECVAM, added: “The EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes is very clear. When a scientifically valid alternative is available, then it simply must be used. Authorisation should not be given for the development and production of antibodies through animal immunisation, where robust, legitimate scientific justification is lacking.”

    In addition to the call to replace animal immunisation by using non-animal-derived recombinant antibody generation methods such as phage display,  the new report notes that evidence in 1998 showed “that for all levels of monoclonal antibody production, scientifically acceptable in-vitro methods (i.e. use of hybridomas) were practicably available and that these methods were either better than, or equal to, the in-vivo (ascites) production method in terms of antibody quality”, and therefore, “in-vivo production of monoclonal antibodies by the ascites method was no longer scientifically necessary, except in rare cases.”

    Despite this, recent statistics published by the European Commission show an increase by 65% in the use of animals for monoclonal antibody production by the mouse ascites method between 2015 and 2017 (45,024 animals used).

    The new Recommendation also proposes concrete actions for key actors including end-users, commercial providers, authorities, research funding bodies and journal editors.

    For more detail on this announcement and on non-animal-derived antibodies, click here.

    In 2017 Dr Alison Gray of AFABILITY won a Lush Prize for Public Awareness for her work to replace animal derived antibody production methods with Animal Friendly Affinity-reagents (AFAs) that do not require the use of animals, thereby significantly reducing the numbers and suffering of animals in the biomedical sciences.

    Dr Gray was also a member of the ESAC Working Group (EURL ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee) that published the new ‘EURL ECVAM recommendation on non-animal-derived antibodies’. The full document is available here.

    ESAC Working Group on the scientific validity of replacements for animal-derived antibodies. ©EU, 2018

     

    25 May 2020
  5. Lush Prize at the European Parliament

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    “Millions of animals are used in science but we know that there are a lot failures in transferring to humans results of tests made on animals. We need a paradigm shift, please support our declaration to alternatives to animal testing!”

    With these words, Tilly Metz, a Green MEP from Luxembourg, opened the exhibition and roundtable event ‘Strategies for innovation in life sciences’ at the European Parliament, organised by Eurogroup for Animals and the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

    The event, on 3rd December, brought together researchers, politicians and campaigners to explore what can be done to start a transition to non-animal science. Speakers included scientists from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Virtual Physiological Human Institute, the European Commissions Joint Research Institute, as well as Lush Prize judge Nick Jukes of InterNICHE.

    At the event, the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals launched a declaration calling on the European Commission to establish a concrete strategy with targets to phase out the use of animals in specific areas of research, education, and testing.

    “To achieve the goal of fully replacing animals used for experimentation, we need a political strategy. We need an EU plan and a roadmap to phase out animal testing, that’s the only way we will start this much needed change.” Sylwia Spurek, Socialist and Democrats MEP from Poland.

    Discussions covered strategies on phasing out animal testing and what issues panellists considered to be ‘low hanging fruits’. Funding was, of course, seen as a major problem as well as ensuring dialogue between all stakeholders, including researchers, funders and regulators.

    There was certainly agreement on the limitations of animal-based research and its relevance to human health, as well as the developing technologies of the kind supported by Lush Prize.

    According to Eurogroup for Animals: “The next steps for the Intergroup’s declaration calling on a phase-out of the use of animals in science will be to garner support from MEPs in the form of signatures to present a strong case to the Commission.”

    For a more detailed report, and photos, see the Eurogroup for Animals website.

     

    Book Launch

    The following evening, Lush Prize attended the European Parliament launch of the book ‘Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change‘ . The book is a collection of chapters by 51 experts critically reviewing current animal use in science, presenting innovative non-animal approaches and offering a roadmap towards an animal-free world of science. It is available to download free of charge from the publisher’s website.

    The event was co-hosted by three MEPs – Tilly Metz (Greens, Luxembourg), Anja Hazekamp (Party for the Animals, Netherlands) and Eleonora Evi (5-Start Movement, Italy), with staff attending from other MEPs’ offices.

    A number of authors spoke about the failings of animal testing, the in-vitro, in-silico and other research that can provide more human-relevant results, as well as the urgent need to create a roadmap to phase out animal research and testing.

    “At the EU level, unfortunately, there is neither an overall strategy for phasing out the use of animals for scientific purposes nor for monitoring the implementation of the paradigm shift.” Carolin Spicher (Menschen für Tierrechte)

    For a fantastic, more detailed, report of the book launch (including video interviews) go to the Animal Free Science website.

    Photos: Eurogroup for Animals and Animal Free Science

     

    18 December 2019
  6. Training Prize for Global South countries

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    As a global prize fund, Lush Prize is always keen to support initiatives to end animal testing in countries that have been particularly underfunded or underrepresented in the past.

    Our new strategy for supporting projects in the Global South includes making part of the Training Prize funds available for a suitable Training nomination in a Global South country.

    The Training Prize is for individuals, teams or organisations involved in training others in non-animal methods of scientific research. A total £50,000 is available in this category and Lush Prize judges can award this to either one or two winners.

    What is the Global South?        

    There is much discussion about what constitutes the Global South and which countries are in it. A widely accepted definition is: Countries classified by the World Bank as low or middle income that are located in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    For the purposes of the Lush Prize we use the following: Asia (with the exception of Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan), Central America, South America, Mexico, Africa and the Middle East (with the exception of Israel).

    Some definitions also include a few additional countries: Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

    Lush Prize has already awarded prizes to many projects in these countries. Between 2012-2018, 18 of the 113 Lush Prize winners (16%) came from countries in the Global South. Four were for Training (Brazil, Kenya, Iran, Ukraine).

    Sixteen percent of all nominations in the same period came from countries in the Global South, including twenty in the Training category (from eleven countries).

    However, these nominations and winners were heavily concentrated in specific countries, particularly Brazil, China and India, and Lush Prize is eager to support projects in a wider range of countries.

    The Lush Prize is open to everyone working to end animal testing, from any country in the world. With five categories (Science, Training, Young Researcher, Public Awareness, Lobbying), we seek to support the most effective projects available. If you are based in a country in the Global South we are particularly keen to receive your submission.

    Nominations for the Lush Prize 2020 close on 6 December 2019 and must be made via the Lush Prize website.

    15 November 2019
  7. Lush Prize at FRAME 18th Annual Lecture

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    FRAME, the Fund for the Replacement of Animal Experiments, held it’s 18th Annual Lecture at the Wellcome Trust in London on 17th October.

    The lecture was entitled ‘Human In-Silico Trials for Drug Safety and Efficacy Evaluation‘ and presented by Professor Blanca Rodriguez, a member of the Computational BioMedicine Team at Oxford University and member of the NC3Rs board, as well as adviser to the US Food and Drug Administration on in-silico methods. The lecture was also timed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of FRAME, established in 1969.

    Professor Rodriguez explained how in-silico methods of cardiotoxicity (heart damage) prediction can drive replacement of animals in research and therapy testing, by the use of both ‘diseased’ and ‘non-diseased’ models. These models allow for better anatomical and functional variability, as well as specific differences in individuals and populations (heterogeneity) which animal tests cannot address.

    The models are relevant to research in academia, industry, clinical and regulators and provide human relevant focus with what is known as high spatio-temporal resolution – a high level of targeted predictability to explain disease. The work is also being extended from heart models to those of other organs and beyond, into cancer research for example.

    On being asked if the models had been compared to a real life situation, Professor Rodriguez explained how the technology had been through this several times and would be going through qualification via the industry.

    The lecture was well attended by a mixed audience of invitees, including industry, academia, government and regulatory agencies. After the lecture, there was a Q&A/audience discussion, including a need to overcome the disconnect between regulatory and academic stakeholders. Professor Rodriguez explained that releasing the model software from academia to industry was done to raise awareness and engage with regulators, to change the way all stakeholders think about such models and show how its advanced capabilities could result in a library of different models for better disease research and drug development.

    You can watch the full lecture on the FRAME YouTube page.

    25 October
  8. How to Nominate for the Lush Prize

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    Do you want to submit a nomination for the Lush Prize, the global initiative aiming to bring forward the day when safety testing takes place without the use of animals?

    Perhaps you are a campaign organisation raising awareness about animal experiments? Or a scientist developing non-animal testing methods? A young researcher requiring financial support or recognition for your efforts to avoid animal use?

    The Lush Prize focuses pressure on toxicity testing for consumer products and ingredients, in a way which complements the many projects already addressing the use of animals in medical testing.

    There are five main categories of award:

    Public Awareness – rewarding individuals or organisations raising public awareness of ongoing animal testing

    Lobbying – rewarding the work of individuals, groups or organisations pushing for change, focusing on policy interventions promoting the use of alternatives

    Science – individuals, research teams or institutions conducting work on relevant toxicity pathways

    Training – individuals, teams or organisations involved in training others in non-animal methods

    Young Researcher – young scientists (up to 35 years at the time of application) with a desire to fund the next stage of a career focussed on an animal-test free future

    And an additional prize, for which nominations cannot be submitted as it is at the discretion of the Lush Prize organisers and Judges:

    Black Box – offers, in any one year, the full £250,000 Lush Prize fund for projects most likely to lead to practical non-animal tests which could be accepted by regulators

     

    Making a nomination is easy:

    • First of all, think about your project / team / individual – does it match what the Lush Prize is about? Does it conduct outstanding work to end animal testing, particularly in toxicology / safety testing?
    • Which category of award does your nomination fit into? For example, a campaign group persuading companies to stop testing cosmetics on animals should be nominated for the Public Awareness award
    • In the About the Prizes section of the website click on the relevant award category. Here you will find some information about the category and the sorts of work that are eligible
    • Write a draft nomination first and think about the kinds of work carried out and how they fit in with the Prize. Give specific examples of work and outcomes and dates. It is this evidence that the Lush Prize Team rely on during shortlisting of nominations. The work should have been conducted in the previous 12-18 months, except for Young Researchers which includes proposed work which the Prize money can fund
    • The Lush Prize focusses on the 1R of complete replacement rather than reducing or refining animal experiments, so ensure the project you nominate fits this criteria
    • For any of the science categories, read the eligibility guidelines to ensure the nominated project meets the scientific and ethical criteria of the Prize
    • Complete your nomination!

    For advice from our Judges on what makes a successful nomination, see our blog here.

     

    What happens next?

    • You will receive an email confirming we’ve received your nomination
    • After the deadline of 6th December 2019, the Lush Prize Team meets to discuss all nominations and select a shortlist
    • This shortlist then goes to an international and independent panel of judges. They are experts in all areas of lobbying, campaigns and science in relation to animal testing. They decide on the winners
    • Winners are informed and invited to attend the Lush Prize Awards Ceremony in London where they collect their stunning hand-made award and their prize money!

     

    Don’t forget – all nominations must be received by 6th December 2019. Good luck!

    Any questions? Then feel free to contact us.

     

    23 October 2019

     

  9. What Makes a Successful Lush Prize nomination?

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    Are you considering nominating your work to end animal testing for a Lush Prize? At the recent EUSAAT (European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing) Congress in Linz, Austria, we caught up with two of the Lush Prize judges to ask them what they look for in nominations and what makes a successful submission.

    Lisbeth Knudsen is Professor of Toxicology at the University of Copenhagen. Her particular interest as a judge is the Young Researcher category, which is the focus of her comments in this brief interview.

     

    Nick Jukes is Co-ordinator of InterNICHE, the International Network for Humane Education, as well as being a previous Lush Prize winner. Nick’s focus in this interview is the Training category.

     

    For additional advice on how to submit a nomination see our blog here.

    23 October 2019