Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods

Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical Regulation, Pharmaceutical, Preclinical,
  • Thursday, February 27, 2014

The presenters will discuss scientific and ethical imperatives associated with the use of animals in experiments and testing, and examine burgeoning alternatives to animal research.

Key topics:

  • Protection of human and animal research subjects
  • Challenges in preclinical research
  • Promising alternatives to the use of animals in research
  • Nanotechnology toxicity testing as a possible replacement to animal testing


Animal research is generally justified because of the perceived critical role it plays in advancing human health. However, opinions on the value of animal research vary and, often times, supportive evidence is merely anecdotal rather than systematic. Recently, critical studies are now shedding light on this topic. A growing body of scientific literature critically assessing the scientific utility of animal models has raised important concerns about the intrinsic value of animal models as predictive for human clinical trials and understanding human physiology. As a result of intrinsically poor predictive models, humans can be subject to significant and unnecessary harm. Additionally in the past few years, there has been a rapid increase in moral scrutiny and public concern of animal research. The growth of public concern warrants sustained examination and discussion of the ethical permissibility of animal research.

Aysha Akhtar will present an overview of ethical and scientific considerations pertaining to animal research. She will first compare the protection of human versus animal research subjects, then examine evidence of the predictive value of animal research for human outcomes and for understanding human physiology. (Disclaimer: The opinions represented by Dr. Akhtar are her own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the US government or the FDA)

Dr. Gill’s presentation will provide an introduction to nanotechnology with respect to toxicity and animal testing. As with any new material technology, there is always a possibility that bio accumulation may occur from their general release or through their use in applications such as cosmetics, food products, pharmaceuticals and other medical technologies, which gives rise to a perceived need for animal testing. While statistics indicate a reduction in testing on animals, there are still numerous organisations advocating the adoption of a more committed strategy to reduce this need. Dr. Gill will discuss the current levels of animal testing and explore emerging nano-enabled developments and the potential for nanotechnologies to replace to the need for animal experimentation.


Aysha Akhtar, Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and Medical Officer, Food and Drug Administration

Animals and Public Health. Why treating animals better is critical to human welfare, which examines how the treatment of animals impacts human health. The book covers diverse topics including infectious disease epidemics, domestic violence, the health consequences of factory farming, and the effectiveness and safety of medical research.

Dr. Akhtar is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, works for the Office of Counter terrorism and Emerging Threats of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and serves as LCDR in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She is published in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet, Pediatrics, and Reviews in the Neurosciences. She is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, and has been writing a series of articles on animal experimentation and human health, which you can find here;author-Animals and Public Health.Why Treating Animals Better is Critical to Human Welfare. / Join me on facebook

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Dr. Toby Gill, Independent Nanotechnology Professional, UK

Dr.Toby Gill has spent over 9 years supporting the UK micro and nanotechnology community. During this time he has been responsible for the organisation of conferences, trade missions and workshops, has represented the UK at international tradeshows, presented on various topics relating to nanotechnology applications and managed the creation of an online network for UK groups working with nanotechnologies.

In his personal time Dr. Gill has also established one of the worlds largest international online communities for professionals interested in developments at the nanoscale on the business networking platform LinkedIn. Prior to this he was responsible for a tour of the UK of a mobile exhibition, demonstrating the use of composite materials to the public and raising awareness of the potential of advanced materials.

Dr. Gill has previous academic experience in emerging technologies with a research background in the area of rapid manufacturing, with specific focus on the laser processing of micro powders. He earned a Ph.D in 2002 for research into the selective laser sintering of ceramic-polymer composites. Other academic achievements include a B.Eng in Materials Science and Metallurgy and an M.Sc in Advanced Manufacturing with Lasers

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Who Should Attend?

VPs, Directors, Department Heads, Managers, Principal Scientists working within:

  • Pre-clinical research
  • Veterinarian research
  • Animal testing
  • Animal facility operations
  • Biosafety
  • Global safety & vigilance

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