School of Chemistry team awarded for reduction in animal use

1 August 2012

A submission from researchers in the School of Chemistry have been presented with an award for reducing animal use in research.

"We believe it is important to recognise those whose work encourages others to think about what can be achieved using methodologies that do not rely on animals," said Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Professor Jill Trewhella, who presented the award.

The award, as endorsed by the Animal Ethics Committee, was for a contribution towards the screening of novel anti-cancer compounds.

"The search for anti-cancer drugs is a large and active field which is presently responsible for the use of very large numbers of animals, many of which may have artificially induced tumours, said Professor Trewhella.

"The group from chemistry's system not only assesses the susceptibility of cancer cells to potential new drugs, but does so in a manner that more closely resembles conditions within an actual tumour when compared to existing 2-dimensional systems, especially in relation to drug diffusion, oxygen tension and enzymatic activities."

"I was very excited to receive this award, especially after hearing about some of the other great research projects that other people had submitted," said the Chemistry group's representative, Dr Nicole  Bryce.

"I am proud of the work that we are doing in developing systems to enhance the pre-screening of new anti-cancer compounds and this award is a great recognition of that."
Details of the group's system have been published and adopted by other laboratories. The application of this technique has great potential to reduce both animal usage and suffering.

"We need to be more selective about what we test on animals and only test compounds that have passed the most stringent pre-screening," said Dr Bryce.