World Congress in Seattle

The World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences is the most important international conference on alternatives to animal testing. Held every three years, the Lush Prize attended the 10th congress (WC10) in Seattle recently.

WC10 provides an ideal opportunity for us to promote the complete replacement of animal use and encourage scientists to nominate for our £350,000 annual prize. While many attendees are already supportive of replacement, some still use animals and focus on the other two of the ‘3Rs’, reducing animal use and refinement (lessening the harmful impact on animals).

Lectures focussed on a variety of topics, such as new scientific advancements, changes to legislation and validation of alternatives, ethical considerations of animal use in research and training in in-vitro, in-silico and other human-based approaches – all issues which create the different categories of Lush Prize. Combined, all these are necessary to form a cohesive approach to replacing cruel and outdated research on non-human animals and replacing it with human-relevant methods.

Lush Prize held a well-supported seminar on Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), with an expert panel discussing the topic ‘Are AOPs delivering on the promise of replacing animal use with a superior alternative model?’ AOPs provide the potential to use new and existing data on how a chemical or toxin affects biological systems and organises such information into pathways which can connect to predict whether the chemical or similar chemicals will cause further damage. This can eliminate the need for animal-based toxicology tests, which not only can take years but are also unreliable due to species-difference and their insufficiency in predicting human safety.

Our expert panel – Maurice Whelan from EURL ECVAM, Troy Seidle from Humane Society International and Kristie Sullivan from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine – discussed their support for AOPs and took some very interesting questions from audience members. Videos from the seminar, along with our new paper on AOPs, will be available on the Lush Prize website very soon.

We also participated in a very informative panel held by PCRM, ‘How can we break through the scientific and cultural barriers to non-animal research?’, where we spoke about the unique ability of Lush Prize to not only fund progressive activities but also bring together scientists, campaigners and lobbyists to work together to benefit all animals, human and non-human.