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Animal Free Research & 3R Initiatives

The 3Rs principle (referring to Refinement, Reduction & Replacement of animals in experimentation) is a central tenant for high quality science that incorporates innovative, non-animal methodologies. It is explicit in EU and international legislation and the application of 3Rs is a desirable framework for meaningful biomedical insights.



Over the last 30 years, IVTD team has spearheaded the development of alternative methods that reflect the 3Rs principle for toxicology, liver disease, therapeutics and safety applications:

Our pioneering research in alternative methodologies has been, in part, sustained since 2015 by the generous support of VUB philantropist Mevr. Mireille Aerens.

It is with deep pain in our heart that we lost our good friend Mireille Aerens to Covid-19. She was very much an animal lover and advocated with great passion the use of animal-free methodology whenever possible in scientific research and testing. To reach this goal she believed in the power of teaching new technologies to young scientists and creating possibilities to form excellent scientists that could further spread the ongoing shift from in vivo to in vitro toxicology. She supported our research by creating the “Chair Mireille Aerens for alternative research methods without experimental animals” of which Vera Rogiers is the chair holder. She left us too early, but she made a difference! – the IVTD team 31/03/2020


Mireille Aerens


In line with increasing scientific and societal pushes for adoption of alternatives to animal testing, there is also a critical need for parallel communication and promotion efforts. Two such initiatives are being spearheaded by IVTD:


  • The  RE-Place project  - Centralization of expertise on New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) for the Flemish and Brussels regions in one central database. Read more


A summary of these Belgian initiatives boosting animal-free innovation was recently published through BioVox.

The protocols/method descriptions of some of the most promising NAMs for toxicology, as included in the Re-PLACE database, have been recently pubished in MethododsX


A summary of the current use of laboratory animals and alternatives in Belgium has recently been published in EOS.

Click here to read the blog.