Established in 1993, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF) supports the development, validation, and adoption of non-animal methods in biomedical research, product testing, and education.
The fundamental principle of ARDF is that the primary issue in animal experimentation is not the researchers nor the questions being asked, but rather the tools chosen to answer those questions. Focused on methods and models used in research, ARDF works constructively with partners in the science community to bring alternatives technology and compassion to modern laboratories and classrooms.
The ARDF Alternatives Research Grant Program was established to fund research projects that develop alternative investigation methodologies and/or utilize an alternative research approach to advance science. Over $2.6 million in grants have been awarded to date.
Fund, Promote, Reward
ARDF works to promote alternatives through the sponsorship of scientific meetings across the globe, participation in regulatory and industry meetings, and providing free consultations with media, scientists, and government officials.
Recognizing individuals in the scientific community who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of alternatives, ARDF rewards scientists through its William and Eleanor Cave Award.
Since its establishment, the ARDF Alternatives Research Grant Program has funded dozens of significant research projects in three targeted areas. Here is a sampling:
• Interactive, computer simulations for pharmacology and physiology.
• 3-D computer-assisted programs to teach surgical techniques.
• Plastination laboratory to produce anatomical specimens as alternatives to dissection.
• Cell culture methods to detect a chemical’s ability to cause birth defects.
• Development of simulated human lungs cultured human cells.
• New in vitro alternatives to the Draize eye test.
• Human cell-based assays to identify anti-cancer drugs.
• Development of organotypic human cell cultures.
• Development of 3-D bioengineered human skin for burn studies.
• In vitro efficacy tests for AIDS vaccines.
• Cell culture models of blood-brain barrier.
• In vitro models of atherosclerosis.
• In vitro production of MAbs, a process that saves more than a million animals each year.
What Our Grant Recipients Say
“The funds I have received from the Foundation have resulted in optimization of a realistic alternative.... This system is less expensive than using mice or rigid tissue culture flasks. Even those with no concern for animal welfare cannot avoid this obvious advantage.”
“Our success with this model and our advocacy of the technology will significantly reduce the number of mice used to produce monoclonal antibody in ascites.... This project would not have been feasible without ARDF’s support.”
“This assay can be correlated with the irritancies of various chemicals, particularly those that contain surfactants...[and] is now being used routinely for product development.”
“We are plastinating specimens so that we can reduce our animal use by a projected 60% on an annual basis.”