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Life sciences research – ethical considerations
SCIREQ strives to make a strong impact on global pulmonary health by empowering scientists to better understand and eradicate lung diseases. The global burden of respiratory diseases is primarily driven by asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute respiratory infections. However, a plethora of rare lung diseases such a Cystic Fibrosis, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and many other diseases severely compromise the quality of life of millions of patients and their loved ones.
SCIREQ actively participates in the respiratory research community by producing innovative tools that help scientists acquire novel insights into the lungs. These insights help researchers understand the pathophysiology of respiratory diseases and develop approaches for their prevention and treatment. In addition to its product development activities, SCIREQ contributes to the advancement of the field by publishing articles in leading scientific journals, sponsoring conferences and educational events, and helping junior researchers. SCIREQ seeks to help the world breathe better.
Ethical use of animals in scientific research
A living body is an extraordinarily complex system. The interactions between different parts of a living organism, from molecules to cells and from cells to organs, are still poorly understood. As such, biomedical research relies on a wide range of scientific tools and techniques to study biology and pharmacology. These tools include computer modelling, in vitro testing (i.e. in a petri dish), ex-vivo cultures and the use of animal models (i.e. in vivo research). Most of the scientific instruments offered by SCIREQ are intended for in vivo research. SCIREQ has also launched new developments into ex vivo and in vitro systems. SCIREQ’s instruments provide highly accurate and reproducible findings that are translational, meaning that they can be extrapolated from mouse to man.
The use of animals in research is controversial. On one hand, life sciences studies involving mice and rats are accepted by most people, provided that they advance biomedical knowledge, that such advances cannot be achieved using non-animal methods and that animal suffering is kept to a minimum. Nonetheless, some opponents of in vivo research argue that vivisection has no place at all in our society. While scientific research has a limited impact compared with other human activities and anthropogenic threats, ethical concerns associated with animal-based research have led to polarized views and sometimes misinformation.
From our point of view, strictly regulated animal research is needed to achieve medical progress that saves and improves lives of both humans and animals. Indeed, according to the California Biomedical Research Association, nearly every medical breakthrough in the last 100 years has resulted directly from research using animals. Penicillin, organ transplants, vaccines, blood transfusion, cancer medicines, and the fight against terrible diseases like smallpox, malaria and tuberculosis would not have been possible without animal experimentation. Nevertheless, we realize and respect the fact that research involving animals is a highly sensitive issue.
SCIREQ believes that animal research is an unfortunate fact of scientific reaserch that should be conducted with the utmost care, responsibility and compassion towards the animals. Animals should only be used in research after a rigorous review of alternative methodologies. SCIREQ’s values on the use of animals in research are in-line with the core values of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR), namely:
- We support the responsible use of animals in research, testing, and education as a key component to advancing the health and quality of life of humans and animals.
- We promote high-quality science and humane care and use of research animals based upon principles of refinement, replacement, and reduction and high ethical standards.
- We foster best practices that enhance human and animal welfare through innovation, training, education.
SCIREQ cares deeply about the ethical use of animals in research, which must be addressed continuously through education, compassion, communication, and promoting best practices in high quality science.
End of life: Equipment recycling
SCIREQ is committed to meeting the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. This Directive aims to minimize the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by offering an end of life return for recycling plan, to reduce the amount of WEEE going into landfills. SCIREQ will also assume the cost of returning any SCIREQ equipment under our WEEE plan.