Windsor

UWindsor gets $1M donation to find alternatives to animal lab testing

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor received a $1-million-donation.

The donation is the largest research donation in the university's history

The Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods will have a new research lab to find alternative testing methods without the use of animals. (University of Windsor)

A research centre at the University of Windsor has received the largest philanthropic donation for research in the university's history.

The Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation has given the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) $1 million to establish a research and training laboratory to develop ways of researching cures for diseases without conducting tests on animals.

"So our first project is going to be diabetes in a dish where we will use human stem cells to create diabetes in a dish, using multiple organ types like the liver, the pancreas and skeletal muscle," said Charu Chandrasekera, the founding director of the CCAAM.

Charu Chandrasekera, the founding director of the CCAAM, says the alternative methods will give more accurate data than using lab animals. (Dale Molnar CBC News)

She said the idea is to develop the next generation of technology in order to "understand human biology better," and that this method would be more accurate and reliable than tests done on animals.

The centre is the first of its kind in Canada. The donor, Margolis, is the former owner of Jamieson Laboratories, who said he wants to end testing techniques using lab animals.

"I think it's a horrible, criminal activity. I wince just thinking about it," said Margolis.

When Margolis owned Jamieson, he said he made it a corporate policy to not use animals in testing. He also audited suppliers of raw materials to ensure they weren't buying from companies that used animal testing.

The laboratory he is funding will be named in his honour.

About the Author

Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.