26 / 07 / 2021
The future of the FAL
This year, the world-renowned FRAME Alternatives Laboratory (FAL) celebrates its 30-year anniversary. Funded by an annual grant made by FRAME to support its work, the FAL is based at the University of Nottingham Medical School and aims to produce human-based research systems for medical research that are better and more relevant to humans than current animal models.
In this blog, we explain the future of the FAL’s cutting-edge research.
Future of medical research
As the science of 3D in vitro models, particularly of the liver, is rapidly developing, FAL director Dr Andrew Bennett predicts that future research will focus on stem cells, genome editing and stratified medicine:
“Stem cells are highly useful as they are able to develop into many different cell types. Also, primary cells do not last, whereas stem cells have a much longer lifespan,” Andrew explains. “Genome editing will become an effective way of replicating the genetic basis of a disease, but genome editing in human cell and organ models, as opposed to animals, must be the priority for human relevant scientific outcomes.
“Genetic profiling will also continue to evolve, leading to a greater understanding of how individual patients are likely to respond to certain drugs, and meaning that stratified medicine will become a huge area of interest. With successful research, patients of the future may have access to a portfolio of different therapies and treatment options that are most likely to be effective for them as an individual.”
The future of the FAL
Moving forward, the FAL will continue to focus its research on human liver models and neuroinflammation but will also work on metabolic human volunteer studies, drawing on its longstanding collaboration with the human physiology labs at the Queen’s Medical Centre. The FAL aims to become a centre of excellence in these areas, reinforcing its reputation and expertise and encouraging further collaboration.
FRAME strongly believes that we will get to a time when non-animal methods are the norm and scientists question why animals are needed to predict human toxicity and adverse effects at all.