People – «Respected, Reliable, Responsible»

Presenting our members of the steering committee: 3 Responses from Dr Wilma Lukas, Expert Innosuisse, founder and managing director W Life Sciences Switzerland

Please describe yourself using 3 words that start with an R?

«Respected, Reliable, Responsible»

In your opinion, what challenges are facing the use of alternative methods of animal testing in Switzerland?

Alternative methods of animal testing will mainly face a problem of validation. They will be compared to animal models (rodents, primates) which are not always completely reliable as a preclinical model for human diseases. Cells, tissues or organoids may only deliver part of the information about what’s going on in a living organ or body. They don’t enable us to reproduce whole organisms and diseases in all their complexity.

If animal models are omitted completely, who will rely on alternative methods to test new drugs?

If animal models are banned in Switzerland, the problem will be transferred abroad and experiments on animals will be outsourced.

In your opinion, what concrete steps would be necessary in Switzerland to draw up an exit plan from animal testing?

A plan to exit from animal testing completely in the next decades doesn’t seem feasible. However, we can improve the research into alternative methods, such as 3D cultures or in silico models, by providing greater financial support to validate new technologies and approaches.

Academic studies should also emphasise and promote training around alternative models.

Switzerland is part of the international scientific community: international collaborations should be promoted and new technologies – once validated – must be shared. This implies that the regulations concerning accepted new concepts will have to be updated.

The advent of personalised medicine, biomarkers and AI will improve and accelerate the development of alternative methods to animal experiments.

Main fields of expertise:

  • Biology
  • Drug development
  • Business development
  • Start-up support
  • Expertise in scientific evaluations