Funding The Future


Beagle Freedom Project called on the scientific community to “Upgrade Your Research” with innovative, effective, and humane alternatives to animal models and methods. In this way, the Beagle Freedom Project seeks to proactively support ground-breaking research that can yield more relevant, reliable, and predictive data to improve human health.

Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) awarded $250,000 in grants to applicants whose goal is to replace the common use of dogs and other animals in research, testing, and/or education with a non-animal approach, such as in-vitro and in-silico methodologies, amongst others.

BFP spent six months advertising and accepting research applications from across the world. Working with scientific peers in each relevant field to evaluate and guide the judging process, the charity chose four exceptional and diverse proposals that have the potential to replace animal based research with more effective and humane alternatives.

The change we seek in ending animal testing will come from not just decrying the abuses and saving the survivors, but also celebrating and supporting those pioneering new models and methodologies!

Please help us congratulate the Beagle Freedom Prize Winners:

Lawrence Vernetti is a Research Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute who has previously developed a successful human microphysiology liver platform. Dr. Vernetti’s research team will use funds from the Beagle Freedom Prize to evolve structures and functions that are lacking in all current in vitro liver systems and therefore increase the value to the Drug Discovery Institute. Once the technology is successfully validated it can lead to a significant and tangible decrease in the use of dogs and other animals for pharmaceutical testing.

Lei Kerr is a Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Miami University in Ohio. Beagle Freedom Project is funding her project to develop a device for the study of nanomaterials deposition in the brain through inhalation. Animals – including rats and beagles – are frequently used in crude inhalation procedures to study the effects of inhaled nanomaterials and other substances, despite the fact that these species do not give us data that can be reliably extrapolated to people. One problem is that there is wide species variability across species with respect to the breathing patterns and shape of the nose. This can affect whether and how nanomaterials are transported from nose to brain. Dr. Kerr’s project will develop a device that could accurately measure the deposition and distribution of nano materials in the brain through inhalation and thus offer more accurate base for the prediction of nano material toxicity in the brain.

Alison Gray is the founder of AFABILITY and an expert in vitro toxicologist and molecular biologist. AFABILITY is a non-commercial scientific organization striving to replace the use of animals in antibody production by using AFAs (animal friendly affinity reagents). AFABILITY challenges the enforcement of Directive 2010/63/EU on the use of animal-derived antibodies as a scientific procedure where alternatives exist, creates awareness of the use of animal derived antibody production methods by all scientific disciplines including health, food and the environment, and improves the availability of animal derived antibody replacement methods. Beagle Freedom Project is funding a project spearheaded by Dr. Gray that will highlight the use of animal derived antibodies even in the cosmetics industry, where animal procedures are banned. The project will demonstrate how effectively the AFAs can replace animal derived antibodies without disruption and spare animals from being used and killed in laboratories, thereby significantly reducing the numbers and suffering of animals in the biomedical sciences.

Katherine (Katya) Tsaioun is the Director of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC) at the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Beagle Freedom Project is providing funding for an EBTC project that uses, for the first time, a systematic review approach comparing liver toxicity in human patients, experimental animals (including beagles), and non-animal (in vitro) tests. Dr. Tsaioun’s team, which includes stakeholders from academic, industry, and non-profit sectors, will review the literature on ten marketed drugs that have reported adverse liver events, or lack thereof, in humans. The study’s goals are to increase our understanding of inter-species differences frequently observed in adverse drug reactions and to explore the ability of the in vitro tests in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ToxCast program to predict such reactions in humans. The results will provide a direct, objective comparison of the ability of animal tests and non-animal tests to predict drug-induced liver toxicity in humans.

Regulatory agencies worldwide require the use of beagles and other animals to assess human safety. Previous studies have found that animal tests have limited ability to predict how drugs and other products affect humans. Systematic review and other evidence-based methodologies are the gold standard of clinical research, and the EBTC is pioneering their translation to the science of toxicology.

About the EBTC and CAAT
The EBTC is a collaboration of science, regulatory, non-profit and industry leaders, formed in order to foster collaborative development and adoption of evidence-based methodologies in toxicology.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), founded in 1981, is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a European branch (CAAT-Europe) located at the University of Kostanz, Germany. The center promotes humane science by supporting the creation, development, validation, and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education. CAAT works with scientists in industry, government, and academia to find new ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, reduce the numbers of animals necessary, and refine methods to make them less painful or stressful to the animals involved.