Use of Animals in Our Research

Most of our research does not involve animals but some animal research is essential if we are to understand, prevent and cure cancer.

Cancer Research UK only uses animals when there is no alternative. To find out more, you can read the CRUK policy on animal research and the benefits of this research for cancer patients.

Also, as part of The University of Manchester, we are committed to its policy on the ethical and responsible use of animals in research.

At the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, we only use mice. We breed some strains ourselves and obtain others from suppliers who are licensed to supply animals for research. Most of the mice we use have altered genetics, which enables us to study and identify the genetic basis of different cancers and target ways in which these might be treated. Our collaboration with clinicians, such as those in The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, enables us to translate our discoveries in laboratory mice into effective treatments for cancer patients. 

In 2023, we used 6293 mice in regulated procedures under the Act.  Overall, this represents a 34.4% reduction from 2022 in the number of mice used.

All our animal studies are conducted in strict compliance with EU Directive 2010/63 and the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. A senior member of our management team holds the legal authority for our Institute, our Research Group Leaders hold Project Licence authorities for their research and all scientists and technologists involved with animal studies hold Personal Licences and receive training to assure their competency. We are regularly visited throughout the year by inspectors from the Home Office's Animals in Science Regulation Unit to ensure the laws are being adhered to and that the highest possible standards of animal welfare are being maintained.

The welfare of our mice is a primary concern. The necessity, ethics and conduct of all research is critically reviewed by our Animal Welfare & Ethics Review Body (AWERB) and our scientists receive continual guidance from our Named Animal Care and Welfare Officers and our Named Veterinary Surgeon, as well as from our Home Office Inspector.

We work closely with animal welfare bodies and associations promoting the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) of animal research.

As signatories to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, we welcome the opportunity to discuss and explain our research. You can contact us at