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Alternatives Research

AAVS’s affiliate, the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF), funds and promotes the development, validation, and adoption of non-animal methods in biomedical research, product testing, and education.

ARDF is founded on the principle that the primary ethical issue in biomedical research is not the researchers, nor the questions being asked, but rather the tools chosen to answer those questions. Focused on methods and models used in research, ARDF works constructively with partners in the science community to bring alternatives technology and compassion to modern laboratories and classrooms.

ARDF Strategy


The ARDF Alternatives Research Grant Program was established to fund research projects that develop alternative investigation methodologies and/or utilize an alternative research approach to advance science. Millions of dollars in grants have been awarded to date.


ARDF works to promote alternatives through the sponsorship of scientific meetings across the globe, participation in regulatory and industry meetings, and providing free consultations with media representatives, scientists, and government officials.


Recognizing individuals in the scientific community who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of alternatives, ARDF rewards scientists through its William and Eleanor Cave Award.

ARDF Successes

The ARDF Alternatives Research Grant Program has funded dozens of significant research projects in three targeted areas. Here is a sampling:

  • Interactive, computer simulations for pharmacology and physiology
  • 3-D computer-assisted programs to teach surgical techniques
  • Plastination laboratory to produce anatomical specimens as alternatives to dissection
  • Cell culture methods to detect a chemical’s ability to cause birth defects
  • Development of simulated human lungs cultured human cells
  • New in vitro alternatives to the Draize eye test
  • Human cell-based assays to identify anti-cancer drugs
  • Development of organotypic human cell cultures
Basic Research
  • Development of 3-D bioengineered human skin for burn studies
    • In vitro efficacy tests for AIDS vaccines
  • Cell culture models of blood-brain barrier
    • In vitro models of atherosclerosis
    • In vitro production of MAbs, a process that saves more than a million animals each year

To learn more, please visit www.ardf-online.org.

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