Replace – Reduce – Refine in animal experimentation

First Luxembourg 3R Symposium

5th December 2019

2 min read                                                                                                                              

Replace – Reduce – Refine in animal experimentation

First Luxembourg 3R Symposium

On 6th November 2019 took place the “First Luxembourg 3R Symposium”, to which LIH actively participated, promoting the 3Rs principles of replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals for research purposes.

The event, chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Higher Education and Research was attended by researchers, veterinarians and representatives of LIH’s animal welfare committee and animal protection associations. The symposium provided participants with the opportunity to exchange knowledge on scientific progress in the 3Rs domain at national and European level, as well as to discuss about best practices to advance the integrity, quality and dissemination of research data.

As Ministers Romain Schneider and Claude Meisch pointed out:

The final objective of the 3Rs principle is the progressive reduction of animal experimentation and its replacement by alternative methods that are scientifically validated.'

Minister Meisch noted that many medical advances have been made through animal testing and that the focus today is on minimising the harms that animals may suffer during laboratory studies. Minister Schneider further stressed that Luxembourg is one of the most protective European member states in terms of animal rights. Of note, animal experimentation in Luxembourg is strictly regulated and limited to mice, rats and zebrafish.

At LIH, animal experimentation is necessary in a number of research programs to elucidate disease mechanisms and identify new treatment strategies for cancer and immune disorders. The institute was represented at the symposium by animal caretakers, members of the animal welfare structure and researchers showing their commitment for the ethical conduct of animal experiments and the development of alternative research models. 

The ministers underlined that scientists in Luxembourg are successfully applying the 3Rs principle, thanks in part to advanced imaging technologies that also offer scientific results of higher quality. In this context, Anaïs Oudin, research engineer and chair of LIH’s animal welfare structure, gave a presentation on the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as an important refinement tool in cancer research models including patient-derived Glioblastoma xenografts. LIH is also actively investing in replacement strategies such as organoids and organotypic tumour cultures derived from patient samples.

The symposium was followed on the next day by a workshop for researchers on the planning of animal experiments.


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The symposium and workshop were jointly organised by the Administration of Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.