Human-centered research: where do we stand now?

Photo: Katja Wolthers (middle) with Debby Weijers (left) for an interview with NPO Radio 1.

In the past few years, many developments have been made toward a future with human-centered research and less animal testing. Laws encouraging animal-friendly alternatives have been introduced, increasing the possibilities for using human-centered research such as human organoids and organ-on-chip technology in research. So, where do we currently stand with regard to human-centered research?

Last month, on the 13th of August, Katja Wolthers, coordinator of GUTVIBRATIONS and OrganoVIR Labs, sat down with Debby Weijers, director of the Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing for an interview with NPO Radio 1, a Dutch radio station. During the interview, Katja talked about the developments that have been made in regard to animal-friendly innovations and the many possibilities for scientists to implement more human-centered models in their research. This has already been done within OrganoVIR Labs where researchers are using human intestinal organoids to investigate the impact of a virus on human intestines.

Several laws have been introduced to encourage more animal-friendly research. For instance, in 2013, the EU prohibited animal testing for cosmetic products and in late December 2022, President Joe Biden signed an amendment law that lifts requirements to test new or developing drugs on animals before conducting human trials. The amendment law, officially known as the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, allows human-centered alternatives such as human organoid models and organ-on-chip to be used for the development of medicines and biological products for humans.

Despite these incredible developments, both Katja and Debby recognize that change will require time, effort, and money. There are still several steps that need to be taken to implement human-centered models in research and minimize unnecessary animal testing. “With the right regulations and financing, I believe that a future with less animal testing can become a reality” said Katja during the interview. 

To listen to the full interview (in DUTCH), click here: