Animal research

Animal research

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is at the forefront of translational biomedical science to improve health outcomes in disadvantaged populations globally, through partnership in research and education.

LSTM research is focused on developing innovative new products, tools, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines which can be implemented into affordable solutions within low-resource healthcare settings. These new advances tackle life-threatening diseases such as TB, malaria, multi-drug resistant bacteria and emerging viral pathogens. We also undertake research in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) with the capacity to cause permanently disfiguring morbidities, including worm infections and snakebite.

This research sometimes requires the use of research on animals, when there is no practical alternative, or when it is a requirement of regulators before a new treatment or vaccine can enter human testing. 

Our commitment

LSTM will seek to minimise the use of animals in research whilst continuing to facilitate advances in science, research, and medical knowledge to achieve our mission.

We apply the principles of the ‘3Rs’ as outlined by the National Centre for 3Rs in Animal Research. Some of our research is supported by the NC3Rs where we proactively investigate solutions to:

  • Replace animal research in areas where they otherwise would have been used.
  • Reduce animal research, by examining new methods and techniques to minimise the number of animals used consistent with scientific aims.
  • Refine animal research with the objective of minimising pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm that research animals might experience.

Regulation

Animal research in the UK is strictly regulated by law and all research is overseen by LSTM’s Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Board.

The majority of the animal research undertaken by LSTM researchers, either at our premises or at other sites in the UK, will constitute a ‘regulated procedure’ which is legislated within the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, or ‘ASPA’.

LSTM holds a Home Office Establishment Licence for this research, and undergoes regular audit by government-appointed inspectors.  Staff and students are trained, required to take a proactive interest in the welfare of animals, and ensure all of their work comply with APSA and Home Office regulations.

Research that falls outside of the ASPA regulatory framework is regulated by a wide range of separate legislation including the Animals Act, the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and others. LSTM requires the same standard of welfare and ethics in these projects as expected in projects compliant with ASPA.

Where animal procedures are undertaken in collaboration with international partnering organisations receiving funding from LSTM, we expect similar high standards, sufficient training and alignment with UK regulatory compliance.

Welfare

LSTM, its staff and students are committed to the welfare of animals in our charge and are required to treat all animals involved in research with respect and consideration.

LSTM upholds the highest standards of research integrity and good research conduct relating to our animal research. Any reported failures by LSTM staff or partnering organisations funded by LSTM to apply ethically approved welfare standards and in animal research will always be taken seriously and appropriately investigated.

Openness

LSTM animal research policy is aligned with the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, which has been developed by Understanding Animal Research in collaboration with leading research institutes.
The concordat aims to broaden understanding of humane animal use in biomedical research, and commits to public transparency about all aspects of research involving animals.

LSTM is working toward becoming a signatory of The concordat in 2024.

Disclosure on numbers and types of animals we use in our research

LSTM currently hold three project licences researching mechanisms of disease and preclinical development of new diagnostics & therapeutics for diseases of poverty.

We report the numbers and species of animals used in our research to the Home Office. In the period, January 2023-December 2023 we used the following species and numbers of animals in our research:

species

total

gerbil

6

mouse

503

total

509