The Academy published a report examining the use of ‘Animals containing human material’ (ACHM) in scientific research in July 2011.Status:
Animals containing human material
Animals containing human tissues, cells or genetic information are used to refine research methods, creating animal models that better represent human disease, and to develop and produce new therapeutics. The study examined the scientific, social, ethical, safety and regulatory aspects of research involving animals containing human material. The report proposes that experiments involving such animals should be classified into three categories, to help determine the level of regulatory scrutiny to which they should be subject. Amongst its recommendations are that:
- The Home Office ensures that a national expert body with a duty to advise on the use of animals containing human material in research is put in place.
- The Home Office and the Department of Health work closely together, and with other bodies where appropriate, to ensure that there are no regulatory gaps, overlaps or inconsistencies in regulation.
- The UK should lead in raising international awareness of animals containing human material, promoting international consistency in research practice involving their use, and exploring the development of international standards or guidance.
Evidence gathered to aid the working group included oral evidence sessions and correspondence with the working group, an open call for evidence and a programme of public dialogue with an associated evaluation.
- Experiments which do not present issues beyond those of the general use of animals in research and should be carried out under the normal regulatory structures that govern other non-ACHM animal research.
- Experiments which are permissible, pending specialist review by the Animals in Science Committee as the national expert body.
- A narrow range of experiments that should not be licensed due to lack of scientific justification or very strong ethical concerns.