FICAM, FINNISH CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE METHODS
General Description / Mission
FICAM is the centre of expertise for alternative methods to animal experimentation in Finland. FICAM develops and validates human-cell-based tissue/organ models, shares information on alternative methods, educates experts, and acts as the Finnish reference laboratory for EURL-ECVAM (European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing). The basis of FICAM’s activity lays on EU directive 2010/63, according to which the use of experimental animals should be reduced and replaced with non-animal experimentation in research and education as soon as it is scientifically possible.
The area of the multidisciplinary expertise in FICAM covers the development of human- cell-based methods to be used in regulatory toxicology, mechanistic toxicology, cell biology, tissue technology, selected disease models, and cell imaging.
FICAM tissue/organ models are based on cells differentiated from human (adult) stem cells or human primary cells. The models combine several cell types of a tissue with supporting material to mimic the normal functions of human tissues. The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) is a leading principle in the strategy of model and assay development.
FICAM has a high quality GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) laboratory, and all FICAM validation studies and toxicity tests are performed in compliance with GLP. The staff of about 20 consists of professors, senior scientists, quality assurance, doctoral students, and GLP educated technicians.
FICAM shares its expertise with other scientists by promoting national and international networking, and by organising advanced education courses on alternative methods, cell and tissue techniques, validation and GLP.FICAM is active in promoting alternative method at national and EU levels in many ways, e.g. by participating in expert groups and administrative appointments concerning the promotion of alternative methods. Tuula Heinonen, the director of FICAM, is the Finnish representative (contact point) in PARERE (Preliminary Assessment of Regulatory Relevance) Net Work under Article 47(5) of Directive 2010/63/EU.
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