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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT
 

Beyond Classical Refinement Program

Kathrin Herrmann

Beyond Classical Refinement

Coordinator: Kathrin Herrmann (kherrma1@jhu.edu)

In 2019, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique, the seminal book in which Russell and Burch first described the 3Rs Principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement, turned 60. Russell and Burch’s aspiration was that the use of animals should be replaced wherever possible, and in cases where animals were deemed indispensable, their treatment would be enhanced significantly, for the sake of animal welfare and scientific quality. Thus, Russell and Burch would be delighted to see that the 60th anniversary of their Principles falls in the midst of substantial developments in non-animal methods that have a realistic potential to replace animals in many areas of science. At the same time, deficiencies in scientific rigor of animal experiments have become increasingly apparent, ultimately limiting both the reproducibility and the translatability of animal experiments to human settings.

These reproducibility and translatability crises need to be addressed urgently. Taking into consideration insurmountable interspecies differences, solely refining animal studies will not be sufficient to advance human healthcare. Consequently, CAAT’s Refinement Program has expanded its focus by critically appraising current animal use practices in science and by scrutinizing both animal and non-animal models in regards to their quality and validity with the goal being refinement of science in general.

In its education and outreach efforts the program thus includes not only refinement as originally defined by Russell and Burch but also refinements of planning, conducting and reporting of animal-based as well as animal-free research studies. Furthermore, training on how to conduct comprehensive literature searches for the 3Rs is a major part of the program’s Humane Science course. To help promote the utilization of systematic reviews to reduce and replace animal use in science in the US and beyond, Kathrin Herrmann is an ambassador of SYRCLE, SYstematic Review Center for laboratory Animal Experimentation, Radboud University, The Netherlands. Moreover, CAAT’s Science-based Refinement Awards fund retrospective assessments of animal models (e.g., systematic reviews, meta-analyses and citation analyses) as well as other means to reduce animal use in science.

Upcoming Events

Online Webinar Series on Animals, Climate Change and Global Health, in collaboration with Charlotte Blattner, Dr. iur., LL.M., University of Berne, Switzerland, and Eva Meijer, PhD, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands (Six webinars between September 2020 and February 2021).

The 1st Webinar on Animals, Pandemics and Global Health will take place on September 18th, 2020. We will explore how human use of wild and domestic animals for food, together with environmental destruction and habitat loss, leads to an increase in zoonotic diseases with high potential to turn into epi- and pandemics. We will discuss the consequences for global human and animal health and wellbeing, including: What role does industrial animal agriculture play? How can we prevent the future development of zoonoses that may turn into epi- and pandemics?

Speakers: Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM (NutritionFacts.org), Mia MacDonald, M.P.P. (Brighter Green), Astra Taylor (Documentary filmmaker and writer); Moderator: Jan Dutkiewicz, Ph.D. (Harvard Law School)

The 2nd Webinar on COVID-19 Research: With or Without Animals? will take place on October 16th, 2020: Enormous efforts from scientists around the world are furthering our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in order to develop new, or identify existing, treatments. In the second session, we will use SARS-CoV-2 as an example to discuss why using research methods and tools that are based on human biology is crucial to finding effective and safe treatments and cures for human illnesses. Key questions include: Which non-human animals are currently used to find treatments for SARS-CoV-2? Why are such procedures done even though it is increasingly evident that results from animal experiments are not predictive of human responses? What innovative non-animal methods are available and now used to tackle the COVID crisis? And why are we still relying on animals for safety testing?

Speakers: Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H. (Center for Contemporary Sciences), Elizabeth Baker, Esq. (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), Thomas Hartung, M.D., Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing), Lindsay Marshall, Ph.D., SFHEA, FRSB (The Humane Society of the United States); Moderator: Kathrin Herrmann (Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing)

More information on the six-episode Webinar Series can be found at www.animalsclimatehealth.com

Recent Refinement Program Activities

Teaching and Other Educational Activities

  • Instructing the Humane Science Course (Animals in Research: Law, Policy, and Humane Sciences), an eight-week 4th term course that consists of over 20 lectures by and over 10 interviews with international experts in the respective fields. Participants so far found the course material to be very helpful and the course itself was rated as being excellent.
  • Member of expert group reviewing new e-learning modules on Refinement methods and severity assessment produced by Prof. Paul Flecknell et al. (Flaire Consortium) for the European Commission DG Environment to fulfill the training requirements of Directive 2010/63/EU for personnel working with laboratory animals (since Nov 2019).
  • Online lecturing in FELASA (Federation of European Animal Science Associations) B and C courses in Germany about refinement and about the laws and regulations governing animal use in science (since 2008).
  • Co-organizer of the annual Symposium on Social Housing of Laboratory Animals series, at USDA National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD, in collaboration with USDA Animal Welfare Information Center, NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, and the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology. From 2020 onwards, this series is focusing not only on Refinement but also on Reduction and Replacement and is now called 3Rs Symposium series. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we hosted our 3Rs Symposium online on June 4-5, 2020.
  • Co-organizer of the US online Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science, originally scheduled as an in-person event at Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on June 22-26, 2020.
  • Co-organizer of the online Webinar Series on Animals, Climate Change and Global Health, in collaboration with Charlotte Blattner, Dr. iur., LL.M., University of Berne, Switzerland, and Eva Meijer, PhD, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands (Sep 2020-Feb 2021).

Recent Speaking Engagements at International Conferences

  • Herrmann, K. (2020). 60 Jahre 3R-Prinzip: Sind wir auf dem Weg zu einem Paradigmenwechsel? (60 years of the 3Rs: Are we moving towards a paradigm change?). Bad Boll Annual Animal Welfare Conference – Animal Experimentation and Animal Welfare. Bad Boll, Germany, March 2020.
  • Herrmann, K. (2020). The 3Rs in Practice: Are we doing what we can?. XIV International Seminar on the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, University of Barcelona, Spain, February 2020.
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Presentation at the Launch of the Book Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change (Brill open access), European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, December 2019.
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Refinement on the way towards Replacement: Are we doing what we can?. 60 Years of the 3Rs - Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA, November 2019.
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Education and Training to Fully Implement Refinement Methods in Practice. 70th American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) National Meeting, Denver, Colorado, USA, October 2019.
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Education towards non-animal approaches in basic and applied biomedical research. European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing EUSAAT 2019 Congress, Linz, Austria, October 2019. In: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation Proceedings, 8(1), p. 72. http://www.altex.ch/resources/altex_Linz2019_full.pdf
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Full implementation of refinement methods in practice through education and training. European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing EUSAAT 2019 Congress, Linz, Austria, October 2019. In: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation Proceedings, 8(1), p. 71. http://www.altex.ch/resources/altex_Linz2019_full.pdf
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Refinement on the way towards replacement: Are we doing what we can?. European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing EUSAAT 2019 Congress, Linz, Austria, October 2019. In: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation Proceedings, 8(1), p. 70. http://www.altex.ch/resources/altex_Linz2019_full.pdf
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Refinement on the way towards replacement: Are we doing what we can?. European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing EUSAAT 2019 Congress, Linz, Austria, October 2019. In: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation Proceedings, 8(1), p. 70. http://www.altex.ch/resources/altex_Linz2019_full.pdf
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change. FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) 50th Anniversary Symposium, University of Nottingham, UK, July 2019. In: Alternatives to Laboratory Animals, 47(2), p. 95. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0261192919869383
  • Herrmann, K. (2019). Tierversuche: Auf dem Weg zu einem Paradigmenwechsel (Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change). 12. Tierversuchstagung „3R und Ersatzmethoden - bessere Forschung, weniger Tierleid“ (3Rs and Replacement Methods –
  • Better Research, Less Animal Harm), Olten, Switzerland, June 2019. http://www.tierschutz.com/tierversuche/tagungen/pdf/conference2019_presentations.pdf

book cover
Book: Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change (Brill Open Access), Published April 2019

In the in 2019 published book, Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change (Open access available at: https://brill.com/view/title/35072), 51 international experts critically appraise current animal use in science and discuss innovative, human-relevant approaches to advance the life sciences and to accelerate the shift towards the replacement of animals in research, testing, and education. Kathrin Herrmann is the initiator of this large book project that she co-edited with Kimberley Jayne. Thomas Hartung contributed the concluding chapter.

  • December 4th, 2019: Book Launch event in the European Parliament with several of the authors presenting some of the chapters of this collective work. The event covered why and how to shift away from animal use in science, the politics and legislation of animal experimentation, the importance of human-focused research to improve drug safety, as well as recent developments in alternatives to animal testing. The book launch closed with a facilitated discussion on how to achieve the final goal of full replacement of animal experimentation. https://animalfreescience.org/?event=book-launch-animal-experimentation-working-towards-a-paradigm-change
  • October 12th, 2019: Session on the book at European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing EUSAAT 2019 Congress, Linz, Austria, October 2019. http://www.altex.ch/resources/altex_Linz2019_full.pdf
  • June 14th and 15th, 2019: Successful book launch and symposium at Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany with 50 participants – mostly veterinarians and laboratory animal scientists. We were able to discuss the 3Rs and ways to accelerate their application, especially how to reach the political goal of replacing animals in science.

Recent Publications

Busquet, F., Kleensang, A., Rovida, C., Herrmann, K., Leist, M. and Hartung, T. (2020). New European Union statistics on laboratory animal use – what really counts!, ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, 37(2), pp. 167-186. Available at: https://www.altex.org/index.php/altex/article/view/1755

Ormandy, E.H., Weary, D.M., Cvek, K., Fisher, M., Herrmann, K., Hobson-West, P., McDonald, M., Milsom, W., Rose, M., Rowan, A. and Zurlo, J. (2019). Animal Research, Accountability, Openness and Public Engagement: Report from an International Expert Forum. Animals, 9(9), p. 622. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/9/622

Herrmann, K., Pistollato, F. and Stephens, M. (2019). Food For Thought...Beyond the 3Rs: Expanding the use of human-relevant replacement methods in biomedical research, ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, 36(3), pp. 343-352. Available at: https://www.altex.org/index.php/altex/article/view/1301

Herrmann, K. and Jayne, K., eds. (2019): Animal Experimentation: Working towards a Paradigm Change. Vol. 22, Leiden: Brill. Available at: https://brill.com/view/title/35072

Herrmann, K. (2019). Refinement on the way towards replacement: Are we doing what we can?. In: K. Herrmann and K. Jayne, eds. Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change, Vol. 22, Leiden: Brill, pp. 3-64. Available at: https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004391192/BP000002.xml

Herrmann, K. and Flecknell, P.A. (2019). Retrospective review of anesthetic and analgesic regimens used in animal research proposals. Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, 36(1), pp. 65-80. Available at: https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.1804011

2020 Charles River Excellence in Refinement Award

Since 2005 Charles River, in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University's Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), has proudly sponsored the Charles River Excellence in Refinement Award. Our Refinement Program’s advisory committee together with Charles River decided on the 2020 winner in March 2020 and will be announced soon. The Award will be given out during the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences in Maastricht, The Netherlands, in August 2021. The Award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development, promotion, and/or implementation of refinement methods in practice. For details regarding the nomination process see: https://caat.jhsph.edu/programs/awards/

Recent Events

7th Annual 3Rs Symposium: Practical Solutions and Success Stories
June 4-5, 2020
Online

The 7th Annual 3Rs symposium, organized by Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) Refinement Program in collaboration with the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC), NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), and the Johns Hopkins Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, was  held online this year. The goal of this year’s symposium was to bring together experts in replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal experimentation to exchange information with scientists, IACUC members, veterinarians, and animal care technicians about practical solutions and recent success stories to reduce the use of animals in research and improve the welfare of the animals who are still deemed necessary.

The format included two days of lectures and panel discussions, including Q&A. These lectures gave participants a strong foundation in the relevant research underlying breakthroughs in the 3Rs, while the Q&A sessions allowed participants to receive feedback specific to their own facilities from the expert speakers and fellow participants. 

Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science
June 22-26, 2020
Online

Visit the Summer School portal for links to presentation slides and recordings. 

This first US Summer School on innovative, animal-free approaches in science was co-hosted by CAAT, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the European Commission Joint Research Centre, building on two past summer schools held at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. The program was designed to offer students a chance to learn more about cutting-edge science from experts from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and more.

Over 600 people attended, and the program was given very high marks by many of the participants. 

Jamie DeRita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium
July 9, 2020
Watch Online

The Jamie Derita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium was held online (via Zoom) on July 9th, 2020. We apologize for the technical difficulties during Stacy M. Lopresti-Goodman's presentation.

This symposium honored the life of Jamie DeRita, who passed away in June 2020. Jamie was CAAT's event coordinator from 2012-2018, and was known to many of our friends and colleagues for her tireless work on our many meetings, conferences and symposia over the years.

Jamie was famous throughout the Maryland shelter and animal welfare communities as someone who could not say no to helping any animal that needed a home. She was known to regularly pick up animals she saw in her daily travels, and to work non-stop to find them perfect homes. Her CAAT family will honor her with a series of presentations about our deep relationship with animals and adoption of lab animals, with brief testimonials from family and friends interspersed throughout the event. Her family has also started a fundraiser to secure the future of her four children.