Pragmatic approach to using animal tissue

January 12, 2017

Using animals to research potentially life-saving treatments for humans is a necessary part of the scientific process, though progress has been made in reducing the number of animals involved. In a new commentary publishing January 12 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, scientists in the UK led by Professor Valerie Speirs describe a framework designed to make remaining material derived from animal studies in biomedical research more visible and accessible to the scientific community. The framework, called SEARCH (Sharing Experimental Animal Resources, Coordinating Holdings), encourages scientists to share before considering developing new or additional models, with the ultimate aim to reduce the number of animals used in biomedical research.

The first SEARCH prototype, called SEARCHBreast, has been developed through funding from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). SEARCHBreast is a database that lists tissues associated with mouse models of breast cancer, and makes them available without charge to scientists. It is run by the University of Leeds, alongside the Barts Cancer Institute, the University of Sheffield and the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute.

Leeds-based Professor Speirs, project PI, explains that resource's goal to make maximum use of any animal used in research. "We know that several animals are needed to produce reliable results. But in general only a fraction of each tissue sample is required to perform an experiment. Scientists typically store the rest of the material away which is often never re-visited," Speirs said.

Rather than duplicating what already exists, scientists can first check the database to see if an existing resource matches their needs. That benefits researchers because the database means tissue can be made available faster and cheaper than would be possible if they had to obtain new animals for each experiment. It also serves the goals of the 3Rs which aims to Reduce, Replace and Refine the use of animals in biomedical research. "By using more of the available tissue, less animals will need to be used in first place," Speirs said.

The team's goal in creating the resource is twofold. "We want to foster a culture of collaboration, and by doing this, we're reducing the number of animals needed for research all round," Professor Speirs said. "This is the first tissue-sharing website of its kind and I feel it's a good contribution to make to science and to animal welfare. We have shown this concept works for breast cancer and our research shows a desire from scientists in other disciplines to adopt SEARCH in their own field".
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Biology:

Citation: Morrissey B, Blyth K, Carter P, Chelala C, Jones L, Holen I, et al. (2017) The Sharing Experimental Animal Resources, Coordinating Holdings (SEARCH) Framework: Encouraging Reduction, Replacement, and Refinement in Animal Research. PLoS Biol 15(1): e2000719. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000719

Funding: National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (grant number NC/L001004/1).Received by VS. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland (grant number OS2015 060 2).Received by VS. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to