As the European Union (EU) debates how best to spend billions of euros worth of research funding, the Humane Society International/Europe has issued a call to develop in vitro and computational techniques that can replace the use of animals in medical experiments.
The cash will come from the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative, which combines funding from various programs, including the seven Framework Programs, with the aim of driving growth and jobs in Europe. The initiative will run from 2014 to 2020 and will have a total funding of EUR 80 billion ($104 billion). More than a quarter of this, (EUR 24.6 billion [$32 billion]) will be dedicated to scientific research while another EUR 17.9 billion ($23.3 billion) will be used to invest in key industrial technologies, including nanotechnology and biotechnology.
According to the Humane Society International/Europe, there are many limitations in medical research that can be attributed to animal experiments. A press release claims that 92% of new drug candidates that are safe and effective in animal studies fail when given to humans.
“It is clear that in order to reverse the slow pace of progress in key areas such as cancer, asthma and degenerative neurological disorders, we need far greater investment in sophisticated tools and technologies that are more relevant to humans,” says the statement.
Troy Seidle, director of research and toxicology for Humane Society International/Europe added, “If Horizon 2020’s key objective of supporting science excellence is to be achieved, it is vital that substantial funding is focused on advanced, human-relevant research and testing methods. By investing in the development of emerging and future research technologies, we can harness the very latest human health and drug discovery advances that science has to offer and improve the quality of our medical research endeavours. Supporting industries today that are inventing the science techniques of tomorrow will also stimulate economic growth.”