Welcome to the Charité 3R website. We are an infrastructure of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin actively strengthening the 3Rs principle in biomedical research and education. The aim of the 3Rs principle is to replace animal experiments whenever possible (Replace), to reduce the number (Reduce) or to minimize the burden on laboratory animals (Refine).
Here you will find information for researchers (training, 3R-service, 3R-research funding, 3R-events) as well as information for the interested public on animal experiments and 3R-research stories at Charité.
The principle of the 3Rs
The principle of the 3Rs was developed in 1959 by the two British researchers William Russell and Rex Burch as an ethical principle for experimental scientific work and published in their book "The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique".
The aim of the 3Rs is to avoid animal experiments wherever possible (Replace), to reduce the number of animals used in experiments (Reduce) and to limit their suffering to the indispensable level (Refine). The 3Rs are now the basis for animal welfare policy and practice in modern research approaches in many countries. The consistent implementation of the 3Rs principle in all areas of animal experimental research is a prerequisite for animal experiments to be approved by the competent authorities.
Expanded definition of the 3Rs
Following the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), Charité 3R uses an expanded 3Rs definition that takes into account developments in research over the past 60 years as well as current scientific practice.
"Replace" thus additionally includes the development and application of innovative high-tech methods and models with which scientific questions can be answered entirely without the use of animals. This also includes the replacement of culture media with animal material, which are usually used for the cultivation of cells and in in vitro research.
The area of "Reduction" also includes the careful design and analysis of animal experiments. Only statistically soundly designed animal experiments that are robust, reproducible and contribute to the gain of knowledge can be ethically justified.
"Refinement" includes all measures that strengthen animal welfare, the application of the latest in vivo technologies and an improved understanding of the influence of animal welfare on experimental results.