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Many different parties are involved in regulations that govern the testing of medicines, chemicals and food ingredients for their safety and efficacy. Complex ethical and economic considerations play a role in these regulations at a national and international level.
To change people's views on animal testing and alternatives, it's essential to consider a broader perspective. One organisation can be a catalyst for change, but the whole field needs to change its collective mind-set. That is why TNO participates in various groups to stimulate dialogue and find ways to make the 3R principles work. The following are a few examples of our network.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) sets international standards for areas such as safety testing. On the topic of 3Rs, the OECD has formally recognised alternative testing methods, e.g. the inoculated chicken eye test (ICE). TNO scientists participate in the working groups of EU authorities, such as the European Food Safety Authority and the European Academies Science Advisory Council. The working groups gather to discuss policies and approaches on a more detailed level.
For the 'SLIM' project (Faster from Innovation to Man), TNO is working with several Life Sciences companies, academic researchers, the City of Utrecht, the Province of Utrecht and the regulatory governmental authorities to speed up the process of getting innovative food and medicines from the laboratory to the clinic. The pre-competitive cooperation aims to develop good practices to offer regulatory authorities and other parties involved convincing arguments and data to accelerate the acceptance of alternative testing methods.
For TNO, young scientists are the key to the future of science and 3R research. To support these scientists' education TNO funds two university positions: a professorship for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and a university chair in Translational Toxicology at Wageningen University and Research Centre.
Dialogue is important when it comes to advancing the 3Rs. For this reason, TNO takes part in various national platforms and discussion groups with other interested parties, including animal protection groups and political parties. The goal of these discussion groups is to hear and share each others opinions on animal testing, to create respect for each others views and to explore common goals.