Alternatives to animal testing: Current status and future perspectives
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Center for Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments (ZEBET), an international symposium was held at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin. At the same time, this symposium was meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book "The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique" by Russell and Burch in 1959 in which the 3Rs principle (that is, Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement) has been coined and introduced to foster the development of alternative methods to animal testing. Another topic addressed by the symposium was the new vision on "Toxicology in the twenty-first Century", as proposed by the US-National Research Council, which aims at using human cells and tissues for toxicity testing in vitro rather than live animals. An overview of the achievements and current tasks, as well as a vision of the future to be addressed by ZEBET@BfR in the years to come is outlined in the present paper.