Leukaemia and L...
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Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research sign Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK

Leukaemia and L...
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14 May 2014

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is one of 72 organisations from across the scientific sector to sign the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, which is published today (14 May 2014).

Signatories of the document, drawn up collaboratively by medical research charities, universities, research institutions, learned societies and pharmaceutical companies, have committed to clear and accurate communication about the use of animals in life sciences research, along with honesty of its benefits, potential harms and limitations.

As a charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research will work to fulfil the Concordat’s four commitments:

  1. We will be clear about when, how and why we use animals in research
  2. We will enhance our communications with the media and the public about our research using animals
  3. We will be proactive in providing opportunities for the public to find out about research using animals
  4. We will report on progress annually and share our experiences

Dr Matt Kaiser, Head of Research at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “We welcome the creation of the Concordat, and are delighted to be in the first group of organisations to sign up.  It is crucial that we talk openly and transparently to our supporters and the general public about the vital research that we fund to stop people dying of blood cancer, make blood cancer patients’ lives better and to stop blood cancers from developing in the first place.

“A considerable amount of research that we support does not require the use of animals, but we believe that research using animals is still necessary in some cases.  Our blood cancer research that does involve animals mostly uses mice, but we also use other animals like fruit flies and zebra fish. 

“The achievements of understanding blood cancer progression, understanding the basis for chemotherapy and transformational biological therapies, and identifying the principles of bone marrow transplantation are just some of the revolutionary and life-saving developments in blood cancer treatment that would not have been possible without using animals.

“We are increasing the robustness of our peer review and expert committee evaluation to further embed the ‘3Rs’  to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in our research and to ensure as far as we can that any research we fund is as humane as possible. We will also work more proactively with universities and research institutes, where all our research using animals takes place, and the Home Office, which is responsible for regulating animal procedures, on a continual basis to ensure that research using animals is performed to the best possible standards. 

“We are already meeting many of the commitments within the Concordat. Employees at the charity will now be briefed on the nature of the involvement of animals in our research and how to talk about our animal research policy to supporters and the public. Over the next six months we will do more to explain the importance of our life-saving work that uses animals, be clear when writing or talking about our research when it has involved animals and potential outputs of such research, and make our policy on animal research readily available on our website.”

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), which has signed the Concordat on behalf all of its members. In order to publicly pledge its support for its principles, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has chosen to also sign up individually to the Concordat. The charity has also been working closely with AMRC to develop a guide for talking about animal research to the public, an information leaflet on how and why animals are used in medical research, and to enrich the collection of data on the extent and nature of the animals used in medical research.



I think it's great that the charity has signed up to this and is prepared to be so honest about its use of animal testing which I know is a sensitive issue for a number of people.

I don't know whether any of the research conducted in the field of CML over the years has involved animal testing but what I do know is that it is because of this research that I am still alive today and I cannot thank them enough for this.


It's clear then L&LR you have not kept up-to-date with current scientific journals and leading medical experts views and evidence on the failure of the animal model.

Matt Kaiser

We are aware that there have been many discussions about how reliant the research community should be on animal models and some criticism of the design of some experiments using animal. We are also well aware of some of the alternatives, such as cell cultures and computer modelling techniques. However, there currently isn't an alternative way that can model how cells behave or drugs act in whole body systems that is sufficient to wholly replace the use of animals. And we must adhere to UK legislation on the use of animals before we can move some of the drugs we discover in the lab to clinical testing in humans. 

We are committed to the principles of 3Rs of animal research - to reduce, refine and replace animals wherever possible. We have also tightened our review processes to more rigorously scrutinise the design of animal experiments before they take place. Ensuring this is done to high standards is not only the responsible thing to do, but the best way to ensure high quality scientific results. And we continue to fund alternatives, such as 3D cell culture models of leukaemia to screen the actions of new drugs.

You can read our position on the use of animals in research here.