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Rethinking 3R strategies: Digging deeper into AnimalTestInfo promotes transparency in in vivo biomedical research.

PLoS Biol; 15(12): e2003217, 2017 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29240762
In the European Union (EU), animal welfare is seen as a matter of great importance. However, with respect to animal experimentation, European citizens feel quite uninformed. The European Directive 2010/63/EU for the protection of laboratory animals aims for greater transparency and requires that a comprehensible, nontechnical summary (NTS) of each authorised research project involving animals is published by the respective Member State. However, the NTSs remain sleeping beauties if their contents are not easily and systematically accessible. The German web-based NTS database AnimalTestInfo is a unique channel for scientists to communicate their work, and provides the opportunity for large-scale analyses of planned animal studies to inform researchers and the public. For an in-depth meta-analysis, we classified the duly completed NTSs submitted to AnimalTestInfo in 2014 and 2015 according to the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) system. Indexing the NTSs with ICD codes provided a fine-grained overview of the prospective uses of experimental animals. Using this approach, transparency, especially for highly controversial animal research involving, for example, nonhuman primates, is fostered, as it enables pinpointing the envisaged beneficiary down to the level of the addressed disease. Moreover, research areas with many planned projects involving animals can be specified in detail. The development of 3R (replacement, reduction, and refinement) measures in these research areas may be most efficient, as a large number of experimental animals would benefit from it. Indexing NTSs with ICD codes can support governments and funding agencies in advancing target-oriented funding of 3R research. Data drawn from NTSs can provide a basis for the development, validation, and implementation of directed 3R strategies as well as guidance for rethinking the role of animal research models.