Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Laboratory Scientists

Animals in Research

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute abides by a strict policy to minimise the use of animals in its research programs and wherever possible will restrict its investigations to studies of human samples or other non-animal systems (like using cells in the dish).

However, animal research is still necessary to advance our understanding of heart disease. This is consistent with overwhelming scientific consensus worldwide. Indeed, almost every major medical advance has depended on the use of animals at some stage in its research, development, or medicinal testing. Common examples include antibiotics, vaccines, anaesthetics, insulin for diabetes, organ transplants and hip replacements.

Animal research is strictly regulated in NSW and Australia. No animal can be used for research if a viable alternative is available. All animals in our care are looked after with great compassion, by a team of specialists.

Animal welfare is an issue we take very seriously – all our research projects are governed by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC), which has a diverse range of expertise, opinions and ethical beliefs amongst its representatives, from animal welfare groups, members of the public, scientists and veterinarians.

No work involving animals is allowed to commence until approval has been obtained from the AEC and an Animal Research Authority (ARA) has been issued for the project. Investigators must submit written proposals to the AEC which must consider the expected value of the knowledge to be gained, the validity of the experiments, and all ethical and animal welfare aspects. In June 2023, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute adopted a formal policy prohibiting rodent swim tests.

Every research project involving the use of animals is in strict compliance with the Animal Research Act 1985 (NSW), the Animal Research Regulation 2021 and the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition 2013 (updated 2021)

The Institute’s scientists are actively pursuing new techniques to reduce the number of animals used in their research, which are primarily mice, rats, and zebrafish. A smaller number of pigs are also used in research, primarily to advance the field of heart transplantation.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years