13 / 11 / 2023
Together we can: moving towards human-focused science
This month we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory and the achievements of the amazing lab team and students who have trained within the lab.
As well as celebrating our past, we are also looking to the future of research. The areas where animal methods are still being used where alternatives are available, the gaps in policies and the animal methods that do not yet have suitable alternatives.
We are strong in our vision of a world where non-animal methods are considered scientific best practice, but we know it will take a lot of work to reach this goal. That work is something we cannot do alone, and we are so grateful for all our supporters and collaborators for coming on this journey with us.
Together we can achieve our vision and create a more humane world, for animals and humans.
Influencing and driving change
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In the 50 years since FRAME was founded, and the 30 years since the charity launched a laboratory dedicated to alternative research, we have celebrated some amazing achievements in the advancement of non-animal methods. We are very proud of the part we played in bringing in legislation and promoting non-animal methods for cosmetic testing that has seen almost an entire industry move away from animal testing. Saving countless lives.
FRAME was one of three organisations which, in 1983, advised the UK government on the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, that provided a rigorous and world-leading statutory framework for control and oversight of animal procedures. In 1984, we were also awarded the first government grant to research replacement methods, which helped to kick-off our pioneering laboratory research.
Since then, our laboratory has been involved in several exciting projects and helped move research away from animal models and towards human-focused science.
One major success for us has been the development and validation of in vitro assays which have been highly successful within the cosmetics industry in assessing the relative acute toxicities of chemicals. We worked with some wonderful partners on this project and both Avon and Boots remain dedicated supporters of FRAME to this day.
We have also worked hard to continue influencing the EU’s approach to animal testing – FRAME helped validate the first three replacement alternatives to animal testing accepted by EU regulators and in 2010, FRAME took part in the European Commission Consultation on Alternative Methods of Cosmetic Testing.
We continue to engage with policymakers and campaign for change where needed. For example, in 2013 FRAME published a review of dog use in drugs testing in ATLA, revealing that the use of dogs as second species does not add any additional useful human relevant information. These results have important implications for the value of the dog in predicting human toxicity and served to suggest that alternative methods are urgently required to predict tissue specific human toxic effects.
Looking to the future
These are just a few highlights from our lab over the past 30 years, and each of these successes were not achieved alone. We collaborated internationally with regulators, universities, companies and individuals to create this change, and we need to continue working together to achieve even more over the next 30 years.
Where the cosmetic industry has been quick to implement no-animal tests, other areas of industry and scientific research have not. Regulators need to stay abreast of new alternatives and ensure they are being used, and policies need continuous reflection and updating to ensure they are suitable for current times. An example of this can be found in our recent blog on the EU Cosmetics Animal Testing Ban and the European Chemicals Agency’s rejection of two appeals concerning vertebrate animal testing on cosmetic ingredients.
If you are interested in support FRAME and our collaborative work to develop, promote, and refine non-animal methods for scientific and medical research then please consider getting involved today. We are a small charity and rely strongly on the generosity of our volunteers and supporters.