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Testing Without Animals A Step Closer to Reality

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    Dogs are typically used in current tests for detecting drugs that are toxic to the heart. HSUS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical industry have proposed a new initiative to improve the safety of medicines and move away from animal testing. The new, entirely non-animal testing strategy proposed for detecting drugs that are toxic to the heart represents a dramatic change from current approaches involving measurement of heart rate and physiology in animals.

The proposal by the FDA, the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute and the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium combines a computer-based model and tests on isolated human heart muscle cells. It recommends accelerated development and evaluation of these “21st century technologies” with a goal of being ready for use in two years.

“This is a truly exciting initiative, which confirms that the extensive international work by The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and other organizations in moving away from animal testing in chemical safety evaluation will lead to more effective human health outcomes,” said Catherine Willett, PhD, director of regulatory toxicology for The HSUS.


  • The FDA/HESI/CSRC proposal includes the following recommendations (Nature Rev. Drug Discov. 12, 565–567; 2013):
    • The use of two non-animal approaches: computer modeling and human cell-based assays
    • a goal of being ready for use in two years
    • the ability of these methods to fully replace the animal tests will depend on the scientific evaluation of the new methods
  • The HSUS, HSI and the Human Toxicology Project Consortium support development and use of non-animal methods in testing and research internationally through lobbying and direct funding, coordination of scientific meetings and workshops, and through educational and scientific presentations and publications.

Media contact: Niki Ianni: 610-999-6932, nianni@humanesociety.org

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