Nav: Home

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".
-end-
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Biology: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2000719

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 https://www.nc3rs.org.uk/ (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 http://www.pathsoc.org/ (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.

PLOS

Related Breast Cancer Articles:

Does MRI plus mammography improve detection of new breast cancer after breast conservation therapy?
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and MRI or ultrasonography screenings for new breast cancers in women who have previously undergone breast conservation surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer initially diagnosed at 50 or younger.
Blood test offers improved breast cancer detection tool to reduce use of breast biopsy
A Clinical Breast Cancer study demonstrates Videssa Breast can inform better next steps after abnormal mammogram results and potentially reduce biopsies up to 67 percent.
Surgery to remove unaffected breast in early breast cancer increases
The proportion of women in the United States undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer who have preventive mastectomy to remove the unaffected breast increased significantly in recent years, particularly among younger women, and varied substantially across states.
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue more likely to develop contralateral disease
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue have almost a two-fold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer.
Some early breast cancer patients benefit more from breast conservation than from mastectomy
Breast conserving therapy (BCT) is better than mastectomy for patients with some types of early breast cancer, according to results from the largest study to date, presented at ECC2017.
One-third of breast cancer patients not getting appropriate breast imaging follow-up exam
An annual mammogram is recommended after treatment for breast cancer, but nearly one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer aren't receiving this follow-up exam, according to new findings presented at the 2016 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.
Low breast density worsens prognosis in breast cancer
Even though dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer, very low mammographic breast density is associated with a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients.
Is breast conserving therapy or mastectomy better for early breast cancer?
Young women with early breast cancer face a difficult choice about whether to opt for a mastectomy or breast conserving therapy (BCT).
Breast density and outcomes of supplemental breast cancer screening
In a study appearing in the April 26 issue of JAMA, Elizabeth A.
Full dose radiotherapy to whole breast may not be needed in early breast cancer
Five years after breast-conserving surgery, radiotherapy focused around the tumor bed is as good at preventing recurrence as irradiating the whole breast, with fewer side effects, researchers from the UK have found in the large IMPORT LOW trial.

Related Breast Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".