In a courageous and visionary step, the University of Windsor has recognized that the future of biomedical research depends on replacement of the use of animal models with a ‘human model’ that produces knowledge directly relevant to our understanding and treatment of human disease. CCAAM, under the direction of founder Dr. Charu Chandrasekera, will officially launch in October, and will move Canada to the forefront of the international movement to replace animal models with science that is human-centred, and humane.
According to the National Institutes of Health, treatments developed in animal models have a 95% failure rate in human clinical trials – representing a mind-boggling waste of resources that could be more effectively invested in alternative technologies and methodologies such as organoids, computer modelling, the development of human bio-banks, and other approaches.
CCAAM will not only develop, validate and seek regulatory approval for alternatives in areas like drug and toxicity testing, but will also develop alternatives relevant for the pursuit of discovery science – fostering a shift in basic research culture that could eventually save millions of animals killed for science on an annual basis in Canada. To facilitate this shift in research culture, the University of Windsor is planning to develop undergraduate and graduate programs in animal replacement science to train the next generation of researchers in alternatives.
Congratulations to Dr. Chadrasekera, and the University of Windsor, for their vision and leadership. The launch of CCAAM represents a crucial moment for animal advocacy in Canada, and allows us to imagine a future in which animals are recognized as living, feeling, thinking beings with lives of their own, rather than ‘tools’ of science to be used and abused. The animal advocacy community in Canada must step up to express its support for CCAAM by spreading the word, speaking out, and making financial contributions to the Centre. University of Windsor is providing crucial institutional and financial support, but it costs money to establish new labs and develop cutting edge science. Let’s not miss this incredible opportunity to make a lasting difference for animals.
You can read the University of Windsor press release here.