On Tuesday 22nd March the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Human Relevant Science* published a report making the case that the UK’s system for funding research and innovation is holding back discovery and development in new medicines and treatments to meet today’s health challenges.
Based on a year-long inquiry and meetings with expert scientists and regulators, the report – Bringing back the human: transitioning from animal research to human relevant science in the UK – highlights the need for a central role for human relevant science in the country’s post-Covid research and innovation strategy and in growing the UK’s reputation as a global science superpower.
Evidence given to the APPG stressed that now is the time for government leadership and coordination to put the human first and modernise medical research. Currently, 92% of drugs fail in human trials even though they passed pre-clinical tests, including animal tests.**
The report recommends the creation of a dedicated ministerial-level post to ‘lead an ambitious and detailed programme of work’ cutting across Government to drive the UK’s transition to human relevant science
Following evidence that the transition to human relevant research is prioritised in countries such as the Netherlands through a government backed transition programme, cross-party MPs are also urging the Government to ‘establish a UK Transition Programme for Innovation without animals to accelerate the transition to human relevant science.’
It emerged during the inquiry that ‘funding for human relevant technologies represents just 0.02% of the total public expenditure on research and development.’ The group is therefore urging the Government to increase the funding of human relevant approaches by strategically diverting resources away from traditional animal-based approaches which have a high failure rate and directing funding to transformative human relevant technologies.
Chair of the Group, Grahame Morris MP, said: ‘“It has been fascinating to work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group in the evidence-gathering process over the past year. I welcome the publication of the report and its findings, which show that human relevant research has the potential to enhance the productivity of industry, improve public health, and cement both the UK’s status as a global science superpower and its reputation for leadership in animal protection. Given the Government’s renewed focus on stimulating the life sciences industry, it could not be timelier.”
*The APPG for Human Relevant Science is a group of cross party parliamentarians working towards the collective aims of:
- Supporting better science for better health
- Saving lives – human and animal – through improved safety and efficacy testing of medicines and other chemicals
- Saving money through more relevant research