Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

Accelerating animal-free innovation in the first ever UK Helpathon

FIRST EVER UK HELPATHONLondon recently provided the venue for the very first animal free innovation Helpathon in the UK.

Helpathons are used in the Netherlands to help researchers who might otherwise undertake animal experiments to make the shift towards animal free methods. The idea is that advances in knowledge often happen through chance encounters.  Bringing people together in a Helpathon can tip the odds of those chance encounters in our favour and help to accelerate progress.

TPI Helpathon have organised 6 successful helpathon events so far. We want the UK to join the Netherlands as an international leader in accelerating towards animal free methods. This is why Animal Free Research UK, in collaboration with the Alliance for Human Relevant Science teamed up with the Dutch Helpathon team.

On the first of the two day sprint, the problem to be solved in this Helpathon was introduced by researchers, Professor Jesmond Dalli and Dr Duco Koenis from Barts, the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Queen Mary University. They wanted help with how to transition their research, which involves using animal models of rheumatoid arthritis, to improved human relevant animal free research methods. Their goal is to test new drug targets for reducing inflammation and bacterial infection in the disease. This will ultimately pave the way for better treatments to resolve inflammation, avoiding irreversible damage and improving patients’ lives.

Ready to capitalise on open minds, open hearts and a great diversity of views thanks to the open invitation, the Helpathon started with Jesmond and Duco presenting an overview of their work with some insightful questioning from the audience, many of whom were non-scientists.

The atmosphere was electric with engaged and inspired participants coming up with questions which were then grouped into themes.  Participants then worked together in rooms discussing and interrogating these questions and moving between rooms, encouraging new connections to be made and more ideas to be generated. Day 2 saw these ideas being released from constraints of reality with visionary thinking around an ’ideal future’ where all research is animal free. Participants worked in teams and transformed themselves into movie makers, actors, comic creators and then live-streamed their final presentations during the closing session. These creative presentations ranged from new methods to help identify drug targets through to roadmaps on how to transition to a future world where science is animal free.

This creativity was captured by a professional doodle artist and a musician who provided inspiration by observing the event and composing a unique piece entitled, ‘there’s science behind kindness’. The event concluded with these ideas being shaped into some tangible ‘takeaways’. This was in the form of letters from participants advising on ‘next steps’ for Jesmond and Duco to take back to their labs, digest and then apply new ways of working to their research.

This pioneering UK Helpathon represents the first step towards the goal of a network of international Helpathons under one umbrella. This would connect collaborators and ideas to each other, helping to create a world where human diseases are cured faster without animal suffering

Carla Owen, Chair of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and CEO of Animal Free Research UK, said “The arrival of the project in Britain will help the country’s scientists transition away from outdated animal-based medical research methods and grasp a human-relevant future.”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022

Cancer Research – a New Paradigm

On 27th October, the Royal Society of Medicine in London was the venue for an exceptionally thought-provoking and inspiring  talk by Dr Azra Raza, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University in New York, international authority on leukaemia, acclaimed author of ‘The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last’ (Amazon’s ‘best science book of the year 2019’) and Science Adviser to Safer Medicines Trust.

Dr Raza’s themes were then eloquently expanded upon by Professor Geoff Pilkington, Emeritus Professor of Neuro-oncology at the University of Portsmouth and former Head of the Brain Tumour Research Centre, Member of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science, Trustee of Animal Free Research UK and The Childhood Cancer Charity and Science Adviser to Safer Medicines Trust.

An expert audience then participated in a Q&A chaired by Dr James Le Fanu, well-known columnist and historian of science and medicine, acclaimed author of ‘The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine’, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and Patron of Safer Medicines Trust. 

Dr Raza explained why the global cancer research effort should change direction to:
1) focus on prevention and early detection, with the aim of finding the first malignant cell instead of attacking late-stage disease, to which end she has established The Oncology Think Tank and the First Cell Coalition for Cancer Survivors; and

2) focus research exclusively on humans and their tissues, rather than on mice, rats and other animal models. For this purpose, she has founded the First Cell Center, to study her tissue repository of more than 60,000 samples collected from her patients over the past 38 years.

We are so grateful to all the speakers for such an inspirational discussion. The whole event can be viewed below:

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Join our new community of practice for medical researchers!

A one-of-its-kind online community aimed at improving communication among biomedical scientists has been launched by the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK.

The Animal Free Research Community of Practice is an interactive network for members to share their work, ideas, challenges and passion among likeminded peers.

With free membership for academic and early career scientists, students, industry and other stakeholders involved in biomedical research, members can interact online 24/7 as well as attend planned events, including open houses, roundtables and Helpathons.

A user-friendly website features up to date news, resources, tools, networking and project collaboration opportunities, latest research papers, job vacancies and academic openings. The community is curated by members and hosted by Animal Free Research UK coordinators.

New members can sign up and join the community by clicking here: Join the Community of Practice

Members are invited to create and add content to the online forum, share events and resources, and to collaborate on projects such as writing reviews, articles and much more. The Animal Free Research Community of Practice will bring scientists closer. It will raise awareness, deepen knowledge, drive creativity and spark passion for a science that benefits animals as well as humans.

We urge all who want to practice modern medical research – that which truly delivers benefits for human health – to sign up and become part of this important, exciting community.

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Helpathon: £10,000 available for pilot study grants

Deadline 30 June

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK are teaming up with members of the Dutch TPI Helpathon initiative to bring the first Helpathon to the UK on 11 and 12 October.

Helpathons are used in the Netherlands to help researchers who might otherwise undertake animal experiments to make the shift towards animal free methods.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 30 June 2022.

Researchers should send a short summary of their research interests and what they would like to achieve from the Helpathon to katharine@animalfreeresearchuk.org

For more information, please visit www.animalfreeresearchuk.org/helpathon

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

UK’s first Helpathon to accelerate human-relevant science announced

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science and Animal Free Research UK have teamed up with Dutch partners from the Transition Programme for Innovation to launch Britain’s first Helpathon.

Helpathons are used in the Netherlands to help researchers who might otherwise undertake animal experiments to make the shift towards animal free methods.

Carla Owen, Chair of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science and CEO of Animal Free Research UK said “The arrival of the project in Britain will help the country’s scientists transition away from outdated animal-based medical research methods and grasp a human-relevant future.”

TPI Helpathon team member Pepik Henneman, said: “A Helpathon invites anyone to ask a question to help resolve a societal issue. We will invite medical researchers to ask how they can innovate their research methods in an animal free way.”

Prof Sue Gibbs of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre and TPI Helpathon team member, said: “By obtaining advice and eliciting answers from trail blazing scientists already using human-focused methods, our Helpathons are undoubtedly shifting mindsets and making it easier to transition to human relevant science.”

The first UK Helpathon will be hosted by the Alliance for Human Relevant Science on 11 and 12 October.

Owen added: “All research scientists are invited to become involved in the project. Our Helpathon is the next step in the innovation wave that is transforming medical research in the UK and beyond.”

Owen is currently chair of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science, an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals. Working together, the Alliance aims to improve awareness of the transformative potential of human-focused research tools and increase their use to improve public health.

For more information, please contact or visit www.animalfreeresearchuk.org/helpathon

Notes to Editors: 

Animal Free Research UK CEO, and chair of The Alliance for Human Relevant Science Carla Owen, is available for interviews about the Helpathon.   Please contact Animal Free Research UK Media and PR Manager Peter Simpson peter@animalfreeresearchuk.org : Tel (+44) 07803 051 848

Animal Free Research UK funds pioneering research that saves humans and animals and is forging a future where animals are replaced with modern, human relevant techniques. With over 92 percent of new drugs tested on animals failing to benefit human health, the charity recognises that a transition to animal-free human-relevant technology will help position the UK as a science powerhouse. For more information visit www.animalfreeresearchuk.org/

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science is an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals. Working together, we will accelerate innovation and create positive change.  Click here to find out more Who we are – Human Relevant Science

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

APPG REPORT LAUNCH

On Tuesday 22nd March 2022, Grahame Morris MP hosted the publication of the APPG for Human Relevant Science’s new report “Bringing Back the Human: Transitioning from Animal Research to Human Relevant Science in the UK” at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

The report makes the case that the UK’s system for funding research and innovation is holding back the discovery and development of new medicines and treatments to meet today’s health challenges. MPs called for a new government Minister for Human Relevant Science to drive the transition to human relevant science necessary to advance treatments for diseases.

Read the full report and a summary here.

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Third APPG on human relevant science

The third APPG on human relevant sciences will be held (virtually) on the Wednesday 12th May 2021 at 3 – 4.30pm UK time where we will continue to gather evidence of funding sources and gaps for human relevant approaches in the UK.

Our final meeting will focus on defining changes required in regulations (Sept 2021) in order for these methods to be more widely adopted. A report of our findings will be available in Nov 2021. Call back here after the 12th May 2021 to hear what was discussed at the third meeting.

Click here for more info

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Next APPG meeting date confirmed.

Our second APPG meeting will be held (virtually) on Tuesday 9th February at 4pm UK time, where we will start the process of examining whether the current regulatory framework is designed to promote the implementation and adoption of human relevant technologies in the  UK.

Future meetings will focus on defining changes required in funding (May 2021) and regulations (Sept 2021) in order for these methods to be more widely adopted. A report of our findings will be available in Nov 2021. Call back here after the 9th February 2021 to hear what was discussed at the second meeting!

Click here for more info.

Monday, January 11th, 2021

CN Bio’s PhysioMimix™ technology receives FDA recognition

Alliance member CN Bio announces how a joint publication with the FDA demonstrates the advantages of their PhysioMimix™ in drug safety and metabolism applications, over standard techniques. This represents the first co-published, peer-reviewed article between a microphysiological system provider and a regulator:

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

PRESS RELEASE New Parliamentary group calls for human relevant science moonshot

Tuesday 6 October, London: A new All-Party Parliamentary Group today held its first AGM with the aim of accelerating the development and uptake of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

The APPG on Human Relevant Science held its first meeting remotely on Tuesday 6 October, where the group outlined its priorities.

The APPG will be a discussion forum for politicians, the human relevant life sciences sector, third sector groups, scientists and stakeholders to promote new approach methodologies that provide unique insights into human biology, transform our ability to understand human disease and can develop effective new medicines more quickly and without the use of animals.

Its programme will cover the themes of strategic funding to incentivise the development and use of human relevant methods and technologies, and incorporation of human relevant methods into regulatory guidelines on medicines development.

The APPG’s statement of purpose is to bring together MPs and Peers of all parties to accelerate the development and uptake of human relevant life sciences in the UK.

Replacing poorly performing animal tests with innovative human relevant new approach methodologies will directly benefit the UK science base and enhance the efficiency and profitability of industries that make vital contributions to the UK economy.

Speaking at the launch, the APPG’s Chair, Labour MP Grahame Morris, said, “I am delighted to Chair the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the current approach to developing new treatments is simply not fast enough to meet humanity’s needs. We urgently need a moonshot to transition to new approach methodologies which promise to deliver safer and more effective medicines, more quickly and at less cost.”

APPG Vice Chair Conservative MP Sir David Amess said, “I am thrilled to be Vice Chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Relevant Science. With the cancellation of the Autumn Budget, the Government now has more time to think about what it can do to provide much-needed financial support to boost growth in the human relevant life sciences sector and enable the UK to remain an innovative science superpower.

“As the country seeks a COVID-19 vaccine, this is the perfect time for parliamentarians to take seriously the growing evidence in favour of the pioneering human relevant medical research techniques that are replacing the outdated use of animals.”

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science acts as the group’s secretariat.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Cruelty Free International media office;

email: media@crueltyfreeinternational.org  or telephone: +44 (0) 7590055 206.

NOTES

About the Alliance for Human Relevant Science

The Alliance for Human Relevant Science is an inclusive collaboration of like-minded companies, organisations and individuals, working together to show how significant advances in science and technology can deliver new methods based on human biology, with the potential to improve the safety of medicines and other chemicals.