July 26th 2021


EARA News Digest 2021 - Week 30

Welcome to your Monday morning update, from EARA, on the latest news in biomedical science, policy and openness on animal research. 

New database on EU animal research  

The EU Commission has published its first database including information on projects using animals for scientific purposes. 

The Non-Technical Project Summaries (NTS) can now be filtered by categories such as country, project title, species, keyword, year of publication and language.  

The database currently includes NTS of project proposals authorised by all Member States since 1 January 2021.  

Together with the new ALURES Statistical EU Database (see News Digest week 23), the free-access NTS data will provide a unique level of openness and transparency on animal research. 

The Commission said that the databases will contribute to the development of non-animal approaches by providing a better understanding of ‘where, how and why animals are still required to be used for scientific purposes’.



Animal-free skin sensitisation test receives approval

The first complete skin sensitisation test, without using animals, has been approved for international use.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), approved the technique developed by BASF, a German chemical company, in collaboration with the Swiss fragrance specialist Givaudan.
The new method combines three tests which allow researchers to understand whether a new product will cause skin irritation, and how quickly the product binds to the skin, which previously had not been possible without animal testing.
“Now we can also use alternative methods to answer more complex toxicological questions without animal testing,” said Dr Robert Landsiedel, Vice President of Special Toxicology at BASF.



EARA free event at neuroscience meeting

EARA will hold an online science communication event as part of the FENS Regional Meeting next month.

Improving Openness in Animal Research, supported by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will be part of the event, on 24 August at 09:00 CEST.
The event will focus on why scientists, researchers, press officers and other stakeholders should talk openly about animal research, and feature experts in research and communication. Free registration here
A panel of experts, including Kirk Leech, of EARA, Dr Marta Kuczeriska, Mossakowski Medical Research Institute, Professor Krzysztof Wasowicz, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, and Dr Paweł Boguszewski, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, will share their experiences and explain the importance of being transparent about animal research in neuroscience research.
The FENS Regional Meeting is organised by the Polish Neuroscience Society and Lithuanian Neuroscience Association.



Bringing back vision to patients with the use of monkeys 

Researchers from the Paris Vision Institute, France, have made further groundbreaking advances with a potential therapy to restore sight in humans. 

Although medical devices that stimulate the retina can restore some vision, patients are still not able to recognise faces or move independently.

To gain sharper visual perception, the team developed an optogenetic therapy – a technique that involves the use of light to control brain cells – in monkeys. 

These results lay the groundwork for an ongoing clinical trial for vision restoration in human patients who have a genetic disorder of the eyes that causes a loss of vision called retinitis pigmentosa.

“The study in monkeys allowed the Vision Institute to create an effective optogenetic therapy that could have a positive impact in patients suffering from some types of blindness,” said Serge Picaud, Research Director at Paris Vision Institute. 

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