Active projects





Can human in vitro brain tumour methods replace animal research?

Dr Karen Pilkington wants to assess whether human in vitro methods can be used to replace certain animal-based studies in research into brain tumours.


Breast cancer research

Val Speirs, Professor of experimental pathology & oncology at the University of Leeds, is leading a three year study that hopes to identify an effective strategy for preventing breast cancer.


The Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (The ARC)

The ARC, at the Blizard Institute QMUL, provides a unique environment for scientists to work together to develop human-based models of skin, breast and prostate cancer, replacing mouse models. It also aims to inspire the next generation of scientists through education about animal free research.


Leukaemia – Validation of iPSCs as an acceptable alternative model for pre-clinical drug screening in haematological malignancies

This project aims to assess the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as a relevant model system for the pre-clinical testing of novel therapies to target cancer stem cells, especially in leukaemia. Currently, scientists rely on animals, such as mice, for the early or preclinical development of novel therapies in cancer.


Improving access to human material for diabetes research

The Skin Research Tissue Bank (STB) at Glasgow Caledonian University currently supports several different projects in diabetic wound healing, vascular problems with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and cellular ageing. Our funding will help the STB to develop new types of human cell models that can replace animal experimentation on rodents.


Determinants of beta cell differentiation status in type 2 diabetes

This research aims to understand the mechanisms that cause particular cells of the pancreas, beta cells, to lose their ability to produce insulin in those suffering from diabetes.


Chronic Pain – Mas related gene receptors as novel molecules for pain relief

Every year, 8% of the population will be diagnosed with chronic pain but only two-thirds will recover. By collecting human nerve stem cells from discarded human teeth, this project will increase our understanding of how inflammation affects the nerve cells in the face and how this can lead to chronic pain, whilst replacing the use of animals.


Quantum dots – Multivalent quantum dot non-antibody binding protein imaging probes

This project is developing novel, sensitive and animal-free cancer imaging probes as an effective replacement for antibody-based diagnostic reagents widely used in clinical laboratories. At present, most current clinical cancer diagnostic reagents are antibody based and rely on the use of animals. Antibodies are generated by injecting a specific target antigen into an animal host, which includes mice, rats, rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens or horses.


Medical devices testing and training – Thiel embalmed human cadavers

This pioneering work with the Thiel embalming method will help to teach doctors potentially life-saving surgical interventions such as advanced abdominal aortic stent graft repair without the need to practice these methods on animals such as pigs. Heart, stroke, kidney and liver patients are among those who will benefit directly from the training clinicians will undergo.