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Study could lower need for animal testing

4th May 2010

Scientists at the University of Dundee have said their research into how effective cancer treatment tests are could decrease the need for animal testing.

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The £10 million research will be led by scientists in Scotland and will involve researchers from across Europe.

The MARCAR project will involve 12 participants and will investigate how using MRI scans and other techniques could measure the effectiveness of treatments.

The research will focus on "non-invasive" techniques, meaning that one animal could be used for multiple tests.

Prof Roland Wolf, from the University of Dundee's biomedical research institute, said: "This would potentially markedly reduce the numbers of animals needed for this kind of research and provide a much more reliable prediction of the rates of toxicity of drugs in development in man."

The scientists will look at a type of drug treatment called non-genotoxic carcinogens (NGCs). In testing these drugs lead to the promotion of biochemical formations which can cause cancer.

Currently these potentially "cancer-causing compounds" are usually only found after long-lasting trials.

Professor Wolf said: "Predictions regarding safety of drug compounds can be imprecise and sometimes incorrect.  If we could make better predictions at an early stage of drug development it would save a lot of time and money and make the whole process more efficient."

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