The highly respected Downton Abbey actor, Peter Egan, who is a Patron of the Dr Hadwen Trust, launched The Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence (The ARC) on October 24th 2016. This joint venture between the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT), the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity, is dedicated to the fight against skin, breast and prostate cancer.

With our investment of £1,000,000, Professor Mike Philpott and Dr Adrian Biddle will create a unique centre of excellence. Using cutting edge scientific research The ARC will accelerate the development of human models for human disease and help reduce the number of animals currently used in cancer research.

The ARC aims to further develop the most robust and applicable non-animal research methods for human cancer, addressing the limitations of both poorly performing cell based approaches and animal models. The over-dependence on mouse models in particular has slowed progress in cancer research, and can provide misleading data. There is therefore a pressing need for human focussed non-animal technologies that have demonstrable relevance to human cancer – The ARC aims to directly address this issue.

The ARC will serve as a focal point for innovative and cutting-edge technology development and extend QMUL’s portfolio of non-animal research. The success of this initiative could have global implications for the advancement of non-animal medical research.

The DHT investment has been made possible by an incredibly generous legacy from Alan and Kathie Stross, who were long term, committed supporters of the DHT.

Dr Brett Cochrane, Science Director at the Dr Hadwen Trust said: “The Blizard Institute and The ARC perfectly embody the innovation, collaboration and interdisciplinary research excellence required to successfully develop, validate and apply human-based models of disease. This is animal-replacement science at its finest.”

Professor Mike Philpott, Director of the Animal Replacement Centre of Excellence and Professor of Cutaneous Biology at QMUL said: “The Blizard Institute has an international reputation for research and teaching excellence and has pioneered the development of three-dimensional models to study human disease, particularly important when helping us to understand human skin biology and cancer. We would like to express our thanks to the DHT for their commitment and generous support enabling us to advance human models for human disease.’