You are here

Alternative methods

04 - 10 - 2016

Experiments on primates : The 3Rs perfected

The network of European primate centres EUPRIM-NETII is perfecting the 3Rs for primates, in order to best limit and supervise experiments using these species. Various measures have been put in place. 

 Experiments on primates : The 3Rs perfected

Developed in 1959, the 3R rules govern animal experiments in scientific research, in Europe and North America. 3Rs means ‘Replacement, Reduction, Refinement’. This means replacing in vivo animal models by other models, reducing the number of animals and improving their living conditions, whenever possible. 



Measures to reinforce ethics in the use of primates for research

Funded by the European Union, the network of European primate centres EUPRIM-NETII aims to perfect the 3Rs for non-human primates (NHP). The latest report of EUPRIM-NETII contains new measures implemented in this respect.


Thus, as required by the new European directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, all employees, from animal caregivers to veterinarians and scientist, received training. Non-invasive imaging, primate biology or primate behaviour were among the topics discusses. The eight conferences given in the training course have been translated into six European languages.


Under the precept of replacing the 3Rs, researchers have also developed promising in vitro technologies. Particularly methods of dissociated cell cultures were developed to obtain more cells for research. Biobanks, which provide biological samples, are another way to reduce the number of primates used in experiments. The biobank of the EUPRIM-NETII network has provided access to biological materials from PNHs for various research projects.


If it still seems difficult to dispense of non-human primates in biomedical research, the efforts of EUPRIM-NETII will at least ensure that experiments on primates will be conducted in an ethical matter, in the best possible way. 


Hélène Bour


For more information: 

Virtual tour of the DPZ