Yesterday, Thomas Sommer, (acting) Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine of the Helmholtz Association (MDC), expressed his delight at the presentation of the draft legislation for a new collective action law in Berlin. Recognised animal protection organisations will be able to have the lawfulness of animal testing legally verified. "We support everything that strengthens confidence in our research," said Sommer. "At the MDC, we are fully committed to animal welfare and the principle of the 3Rs in animal research: replacement, reduction and refinement are fixed objectives for us," said Sommer. "We will not settle for the status quo," said Sommer. Our scientists do their utmost to come up with alternatives to animal testing by researching with organoids, for instance."
Sommer also stressed that, for the most part, health research still relies on animal testing. He cited cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death worldwide, as an example. "For one thing, we work with human tissue," said Sommer. "But when it comes down to the cardiovascular system as a whole, it is impossible to avoid animal testing."
The researchers are refining and combining their analytical methods to ensure that as few animals as possible are needed. They are also working to improve the transferability of findings from experiments on mice to humans. For example, mice develop tumours from human cancer cells. The researchers are looking for more effective treatment strategies for forms of cancer that currently cause sufferers to die within a few months. Promising immunotherapies for cancer are being developed on the basis of animal testing.
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine of the Helmholtz Association (MDC)
Head of Communications Department