Windsor

New non-animal testing lab in Windsor first of its kind in Canada

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) was unveiled Thursday. It's focusing on biomedical research, education and chemical safety testing.

Human cells and tissues from cadavers being used to produce replicas of human tissue

Charu Chandrasekera is a founder and executive director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor. (CBC)

There's a new research lab at the University of Windsor promising to pursue the next frontier of animal welfare.

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) was unveiled Thursday, with the aim of focusing on animal-safe biomedical research, education and chemical safety testing.

Eric Margolis, the former owner of Jamieson Laboratories, donated $1 million through his family foundation to help establish the new centre.

"I've always hated animal cruelty with a passion. I've hated animal testing, which I consider barbaric, cruel and extreme," said Margolis. "When I was at Jamieson, my rule was no animal testing and we audit suppliers of raw materials to make sure that they're not animal testing."

Eric Margolis, former owner of Jamieson Laboratories, donated $1 million through his family foundation to help fund the CCAAM. (CBC)

The lab will use human cells and tissues from cadavers, as well as 3D printing, to produce replicas of human tissue.

"There is a global shift away from animal testing," said Charu Chandrasekera, founder and executive director of the CCAAM.

The CCAAM is also working with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board to eliminate animal dissections in classrooms, with the intention of replacing real frogs with fake ones.

"We want to expose our 21st Century kids to 21st Century technology, which isn't dead frogs," said Chandrasekera. "It's using virtual reality to do these things differently so they can have a better experience learning about human physiology and human anatomy."

With files from Katerina Georgieva

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