Charité 3R emerged from an initiative of scientists with the goal of strengthening both, patient benefit and animal welfare through a cultural change in biomedical research.
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Charité 3R – from vision to structue
The starting point of Charité 3R is the collaboration of several Berlin scientists in 2016 with the intention to initiate a cultural change in animal biomedical research.The result of the alliance is a jointly written memorandum (Berlin Initiative for a Rethink in Biomedical Research), the aim of which is to improve the transfer of results from basic biomedical research to practical application in humans - the so-called translation - with a maximum of animal welfare. In order to achieve this goal, the number of laboratory animals to be used is to be limited to the indispensable minimum, necessary animal experiments are to be continuously optimized with regard to their informative value, and at the same time the development of alternative approaches is to be vigorously promoted.
In their coalition agreement for the 2016-2021 legislative period, the governing parties in Berlin took up the thrust of the memorandum and formulated the goal of developing Berlin into the capital of alternative methods. Against this background, Charité and the state of Berlin agreed in their joint university contract 2018 to 2022 to establish a structure for an initial period of five years to promote the research and development of animal-free methods and to strengthen and further develop animal experimental research along the 3R principles in research and education within Charité. In November 2018, Charité 3R was founded during an official opening ceremony.
An exciting insight into the motivation and objectives of Charité 3R can be found in an interview with Dean Prof. Axel Radlach Pries in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He also talks about the necessity of animal experiments and the ethical obligation to search for alternatives in an interview with medical journalist Beatrice Hamberger.
Berlin - from the capital of animal experiments to the capital of alternative methods
Charité 3R is specifically oriented towards the needs of the Charité. It promotes 3R research ideas of scientists:inside and organizes teaching events on the 3Rs.
Berlin wants to become the "capital of alternative methods". Charité 3R supports this goal of the Berlin state government by preparing and supporting Berlin-wide research alliances in the 3Rs. Charité 3R also collaborates with partners at national and European level to jointly advance the implementation of the 3R principle in biomedical research.
For years, Berlin was considered the capital of animal experimentation. However, the comparatively high number of animal experiments must be viewed against the background that Berlin is also the research capital and is home to a very high number of internationally visible university and non-university research institutions compared to the rest of Germany. Around 315,000 people currently work here in the healthcare industry alone.
At the same time, due to this outstanding scientific infrastructure, Berlin brings with it a particularly high potential for the research and development of animal experimentation alternatives and the further development of the 3R principles, also because, in addition to the relevant research institutions, unique initiatives such as the Berlin-Brandenburg Research Platform (BB3R), which was already founded in 2015, the BIH QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research, the Simulated Human (Si-M), and the German Center for the Protection of Laboratory Animals (Bf3R) are located here.
The close proximity of all relevant stakeholders from politics, industry and society make Berlin the ideal location to achieve the highest ethical and qualitative standards in this new research approach. The long-term goal is to develop Berlin into the capital of alternative methods and to become a national leader in this field, which will have a Europe-wide impact through the involvement of national stakeholders.