Prior, H., Blunt, H., Crossman, L. et al. 2021. Refining procedures within regulatory toxicology studies: Improving animal welfare and data. Animals 11(11), 3057.

During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction with metabolism and toxicity studies using animals. The required studies are outlined within international regulatory guidelines which acknowledge and support the application of the 3Rs to reduce the number of animals used or to refine the procedures performed when these studies are deemed to be necessary. The continued development of new technologies and adoption of best-practice approaches to laboratory animal housing and study procedures has generated a series of refinements that can be incorporated into animal studies throughout the package. These refinements benefit the welfare of fish, mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, minipigs, and non-human primates (NHPs) whilst maintaining or improving data quality within general toxicology, metabolism, and other studies and can also bring efficiencies to processes that benefit study costs and timings. Examples are shared which cover the following topics: social housing of dogs and NHPs, surgical refinements in the rat bile duct cannulation model for collection of data for metabolism studies, whether fasting is really required prior to clinical pathology sampling, and the use of microsampling for toxicokinetics.