Workshop Held in Mumbai to Teach Young Scientists to Replace Animals in Experiments

For Immediate Release:
6 November 2018


Dr Dipti M Kapoor; [email protected]

Garima Jain; [email protected]

PETA India and Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy Joined Hands for Initiative

Mumbai – This weekend, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and the Department of Pharmaceutics at Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, organised a joint workshop titled “Replacing Regulatory Experiments on Animals: An Introduction to In Silico Models and In Vitro Test Methods” to instil in young scientists the importance of replacing animals in experiments with modern testing methods.

Geared towards those who will complete master’s studies and go on to become the next generation of scientists and research professionals, PETA India’s one-day workshop introduced pharmacy and life sciences students to modern, animal-free testing methods that they can use to meet regulatory requirements. The workshop highlighted the scientific limitations of poisoning and killing animals in product tests, as well as the relevant ethical issues, and discussed the specific human-relevant models that can be used in tests for toxicity, carcinogenicity, skin corrosion, and more.

“This workshop will help tomorrow’s scientists learn the latest evolving testing techniques today,” says PETA India’s Dr Dipti Kapoor. “As science and industry move away from poisoning and blinding animals in archaic tests, it’s essential that pharmacy and life science students learn to conduct animal-free, human-relevant safety studies.”

The methods introduced during the workshop included in silico, or computational, models for toxicity prediction, which can provide information regarding the hazard potential of chemicals without animal testing. These methods include databases to retrieve toxicological data as well as quantitative structure-activity relationships, which can identify hazard potential.

Students also discussed animal-free methods for assessing a compound’s potential to cause cancer or mutagenesis, such as the Ames, in vitro micronucleus, and chromosome aberration tests. Other sessions revealed how in vitro (or “test tube”) testing methods can replace eye irritancy tests in which chemicals are dripped into an animal’s eyes and skin corrosion tests in which chemicals are rubbed onto an animal’s raw, abraded skin.

The concluding lecture emphasised the need for animal-free teaching curricula in the Indian education system.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – notes that because of the vast physiological differences between humans and the animals used in regulatory tests, the results of animal tests are often misleading.

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