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Fighting cancer: Animal research at Cambridge

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Posted April 27, 2015

Animal research plays an essential role in our understanding of health and disease and in the development of modern medicines and surgical techniques. Without the use of animals, we would not have many of the modern medicines, antibiotics, vaccines and surgical techniques that we take for granted in both human and veterinary medicine.

Some of the important and pioneering work for which Cambridge is best known and which has led to major improvements in people’s lives was only possible using animals, from the development of IVF techniques through to human monoclonal antibodies.

Cambridge place good welfare at the centre of animal research and aim to meet the highest standards: good animal welfare and good science go hand-in-hand. As part of Cambridge commitment to openness, in Cambridge new film, they look inside one of their facilities, where mice are helping their scientists to understand how cancers develop and how they can best be treated.

Cambridge mice are housed in state-of-the-art facilities. Each animal is checked daily to ensure it has enough food and water and to look for signs that the animal is in pain, no matter how mild. Researchers use some of the same imaging techniques used on humans, such as ultrasound – the non-invasive technique that allows doctors to monitor the health of a baby in the womb – to monitor tumour development in the mice.

Although animals will play a role in biomedical research for the foreseeable future, researchers strive to use the minimum number possible. They are actively looking at techniques to help Cambridge reduce – and ultimately replace – their use. In the film, Cambridge explore a new technique to develop ‘mini-livers’ that will allow to screen potential new drugs without the use of animals.

Source: Cambridge University

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