Washington Update

New FASEB Factsheet Highlights Limitations of Nonanimal Models

By: Kyle Cavagnini and Naomi Charalambakis
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Earlier this month, FASEB issued a new factsheet, Animal Research: Necessary for Scientific Progress, to communicate the continuing need for laboratory animals in biomedical research. While there is an interest to replace animals with nonanimal models, such as organ-on-a-chip and cultured cells, major limitations remain. The new factsheet highlights several of these limitations and explains why animal studies will remain a key part of future biomedical advancements.

The primary limitation of nonanimal models is that they cannot be used to study whole body effects, reducing their ability to examine important research questions related to biological development, pharmacokinetics, and disease onset and progression. Moreover, use of nonanimal models do not eliminate animal research as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires these models to be validated in animals prior to clinical applications to ensure safety and efficacy. For example, studies in nonhuman primates are essential for developing vaccines against a range of diseases including, most recently, COVID-19.

Additional FASEB factsheets on the contributions of animal research can be found here