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On Monday, the UK-based National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) awarded its 2017 International award to a team at the University of Oxford, for their research into using computer simulations in place of living animals.

With the help of their “Virtual Assay” software, the team developed a computer model of human cardiac cells and ran thousands of simulations to see how 62 drugs (and 15 compounds widely used in research) affected the cells. Matched up to actual clinical data, the model was able to guess correctly whether a substance was potentially dangerous to the heart a vast majority of the time.

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Image: By Sarah Fleming (SMercury98 on Flickr) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/smercury98/2684073750/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18333504

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