Animal experiments are conducted to demonstrate the safety of novel products before they enter the market or to provide insights in the efficacy of new drugs or medical devices. Moreover, animal models are often needed in basic science to elucidate various processes in biomedical research.
Research with animal is strongly regulated and needs to be approved by a local ethic-committee. Moreover, researchers are trying to reduce the number of animals to an minimum or refine the living conditions for the animals. A good example is the ban of animal experimentation for cosmetics where strict policies were put into place in the European Union that triggered that a whole industry is not using animal models anymore. However, the use of animals in research is still often afflicted with ethical concerns and conflicts with the general understanding of animal welfare.
So why are we still using animal experimentation?
The simple answer is, they are currently indispensable for finding an answer to certain research questions – yet.
Aiming for a reduction or even replacement of animal use in research, in vitro models can be considered as a valuable and complementary addition to animal models.