Title: What is Understood by “Animal-Free Research”?
Citation: TOXICOLOGY IN VITRO vol. 57 p. 143-144
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC115877
ISSN: 0887-2333 (online)
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887233318306842?via%3Dihub
DOI: 10.1016/j.tiv.2019.03.001
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Many animal-derived products were of utmost importance in the development of cell culturing techniques. Among such products is fetal bovine serum (FBS), which is typically used to supplement the basal cell culture medium in order to promote cell growth, proliferation and maintenance, as it appeared to be beneficial to most cell types. FBS has boosted the development of cell culturing methodologies by assisting in the establishment of cancer cell lines of every tumour origin as well as cell lines developed from primary humans and animal cells. FBS is still extensively used today as a suggested supplement for most cell lines obtained through cell banks. FBS is also used to some extents in the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) area as a supplement in the medium for cell lines to be induced as well as for freezing iPSC cell lines. iPSC cells are indeed successfully used in basic research of diseases, such as cancer and neurological disorders, as well as in the search for improved drugs and in toxicity testing. However, it is a fact that the use and production of FBS raises many scientific and ethical concerns . The way forward in the on-going high technology research where we can study biological processes with increasing accuracy is to strive towards fully defined systems with known composition. This strive clearly excludes the use of non-defined products such as those derived from animals, but also those from humans and plants. This will necessitate interdisciplinary efforts and increasing awareness at the political level, at the level of funding agencies, research as well as that of journals. It will be an effort ensuring reproducible, credible, and trustworthy scientific data generation in the 3Rs research and development arena.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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