The focus of the discussions yesterday was medical research, with focus on animal testing. Animal testing is a very important ethical issue that the pharmaceutical industry has to deal with on a daily basis. Nevertheless I have not discussed it very often here at the blog. One of the few blog posts is the one from Sept 28, 2010. The reason is to be honest that my competence in the field is very limited. That cannot however be said about Ian Cotgreave from AstraZeneca.
Ian gave us a brilliant presentation as always. He both explained the reasons why industry uses animals in their research from a scientific point of view, and the regulatory framework around pre-clinical and clinical research. He also discussed the ethical dilemma - "animals versus human beings".
As expected, a large part of Ian's presentation and the following discussions were related to 3R (Reduce, Refine, and Replace). Ian gave several interesting examples where AstraZeneca and industry have introduced 3R-strategies to eliminate or reduce the number of animals used in research.
3R is an extremely interesting area of research, and just imagine the potential in stemcells. Ian gave us some examples on regenerative medicin. Read more on that on the this link for instance.
Thanks Ian for a very stimulating presentation, and thanks to Jan Bagge from Reumatikerförbundet for giving us the view of the PAGs on animal testing. It is good to see that both industry and patient organisations seem to be very much aligned on this issue. By working together we will definitely see furher progress in the years to come.