A centre focused on new approach methodologies that efficiently demonstrate reproducibility in humans has been launched through a collaboration between Humane Society International India (HSI/India) and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Atal Incubation Centre – Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, one of India’s premier institutions for scientific research. The Centre for Predictive Human Model Systems in Hyderabad will enable a paradigm shift in science and testing in India through investment in 21st-century non-animal methods.
Although India is striving to be at the forefront of innovation and self-sustainable methods through the ‘Make in India’ initiative, a huge amount of money is invested in outdated, animal-based methods. This collaboration envisions a future for India as a key player in human-relevant biomedical and toxicological research through investment, capacity building, and policy level changes.
The centre will fill a need in India for a think-tank that represents the growing body of work on human biology-centric new approach methodologies on a scientific and policy level. In addition to promoting research in this field, the centre aspires to bridge the gap between scientists, industry, and regulatory bodies through workshops, conferences, and roundtables on research and policy. Support for research and open-access publication of literature will be a focus of the centre with the goal of breaking siloes and forging partnerships among the global scientific community.
In the next year, the aim of the centre is to hire two research associates, publish review papers on how current human-centric methodologies can enable the replacement of obsolete animal models, form an advisory body for effective functioning, train scientists to use Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), and conduct a conference.
The use of animals in research dates back several decades. However, today science has progressed to a point where in vitro and in silico models are more resource-friendly and inexpensive, while also being more accurate and ethical. Various multi-functional platforms are available that combine the already existing mechanistic knowledge about pathophysiology and etiology with expanding engineering technologies, advances in stem cell biology, etc. Researchers have been critically assessing the validity and reliability of data obtained from animal experimentation to predict human outcomes and develop a better understanding of the human physiology. Recent studies have shown that more than 90% of animal experiments have failed to lead to treatments for humans, and more than 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that are safe and effective in animals fail in human clinical trials.