Attitudes Toward the Use of Animals in Chronic versus Acute Pain Research: Results of a Web-based Forum
Elisabeth H. Ormandy and Gilly Griffin
When asked about the use of animals in biomedical research, people often state that the research is only acceptable if pain and distress are minimised. However, pain is caused when the aim is to study pain itself, resulting in unalleviated pain for many of the animals involved. Consequently, the use of animals in pain research is often considered contentious. To date, no research has explored people's views toward different types of animal-based pain research (e.g. chronic or acute pain). This study used a web-based survey to explore people's willingness to support the use of mice in chronic versus acute pain research. The majority of the participants opposed the use of mice for either chronic (68.3%) or acute (63.1%) pain research. There was no difference in the levels of support or opposition for chronic versus acute pain research. Unsupportive participants justified their opposition by focusing on the perceived lack of scientific merit, or the existence of non-animal alternatives. Supporters emphasised the potential benefits that could arise, with some stating that the benefits outweigh the costs. The majority of the participants were opposed to pain research involving mice, regardless of the nature and duration of the pain inflicted, or the perceived benefit of the research. A better understanding of public views toward animal use in pain research may provide a stronger foundation for the development of policy governing the use of animals in research where animals are likely to experience unalleviated pain.
Autologous Co-culture of Primary Human Alveolar Macrophages and Epithelial Cells for Investigating Aerosol Medicines. Part I: Model Characterisation
Marius Hittinger, Julia Janke, Hanno Huwer, Regina Scherließ, Nicole Schneider-Daum and Claus-Michael Lehr
The development of new formulations for pulmonary drug delivery is a challenge on its own. New in vitro models which address the lung are aimed at predicting and optimising the quality, efficacy and safety of inhaled drugs, to facilitate the more rapid translation of such products into the clinic. Reducing the complexity of the in vivo situation requires that such models reproducibly reflect essential physiological factors in vitro. The choice of cell types, culture conditions and the experimental set-up, can affect the outcome and the relevance of a study. In the alveolar space of the lung, epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages are the most important cell types, forming an efficient cellular barrier to aerosols. Our aim was to mimic this barrier with primary human alveolar cells. Cell densities of alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells, isolated from the same human donor, were optimised, with a focus on barrier properties. The combination of 300,000 epithelial cells/cm² together with 100,000 macrophages/cm² showed a functional barrier (transepithelial electrical resistance > 500Ω.cm²). This cell model was combined with the Pharmaceutical Aerosol Deposition Device on Cell Cultures. The functionality of the in vitro system was investigated with spray-dried fluorescently labelled poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid particles loaded with ovalbumin as a model drug.
Expectations for the Methodology and Translation of Animal Research: A Survey of the General Public, Medical Students and Animal Researchers in North America
Ari R. Joffe, Meredith Bara, Natalie Anton and Nathan Nobis
To determine what are considered acceptable standards for animal research (AR) methodology and translation rate to humans, a validated survey was sent to: a) a sample of the general public, via Sampling Survey International (SSI; Canada), Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT; USA), a Canadian city festival (CF) and a Canadian children's hospital (CH); b) a sample of medical students (two first-year classes); and c) a sample of scientists (corresponding authors and academic paediatricians). There were 1379 responses from the general public sample (SSI, n = 557; AMT, n = 590; CF, n = 195; CH, n = 102), 205/330 (62%) medical student responses, and 23/323 (7%, too few to report) scientist responses. Asked about methodological quality, most of the general public and medical student respondents expect that: AR is of high quality (e.g. anaesthesia and analgesia are monitored, even overnight, and 'humane' euthanasia, optimal statistical design, comprehensive literature review, randomisation and blinding, are performed), and costs and difficulty are not acceptable justifications for lower quality (e.g. costs of expert consultation, or more laboratory staff). Asked about their expectations of translation to humans (of toxicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and treatment findings), most expect translation more than 60% of the time. If translation occurred less than 20% of the time, a minority disagreed that this would "significantly reduce your support for AR". Medical students were more supportive of AR, even if translation occurred less than 20% of the time. Expectations for AR are much higher than empirical data show to have been achieved.
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Animal experimentation is presented to the public as an ongoing debate between research scientists on one hand, and the animal protection community on the other. An opportunity to break out of this mindset presented itself in the form of a European Citizens' Initiative, Stop Vivisection, which challenged Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of animals for scientific purposes. The manifesto of the initiative called upon the European Commission to replace the existing Directive with a new proposal that does away with animal experimentation, and instead makes compulsory the use of human data as a predictive modality for the study of human diseases and responses to drugs. Although the Initiative succeeded in gathering the required one million signatures, the European Commission ultimately rejected the proposal. However, some of the lessons learned from the Initiative may well be relevant to the revision of Directive 2010/63/EU, due to take place by 2017.
Acute Oral Toxicity Testing: Scientific Evidence and Practicability Should Govern Three Rs Activities
Roland Buesen, Uwe Oberholz, Ursula G. Sauer and Robert Landsiedel
Acute oral toxicity is determined for regulatory hazard classification or non-classification. The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) recommends the following modules for acute oral toxicity testing: a) the use of the in vitro 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU) test to identify substances not requiring classification and to estimate starting doses for in vivo acute oral toxicity studies; and b) the use of data from sub-acute toxicity studies to identify substances not requiring classification. However, the application of these modules in a regulatory context would require a predefined, validated and formally accepted testing strategy and data interpretation procedure, which are not available. Furthermore, the application of the 3T3 NRU assay for starting dose estimations could in fact increase the number of animals used. Finally, only very few substances exist for which data from sub-acute or other repeated dose studies are available, but data from acute studies are not. Therefore, in practice, the prediction of acute toxicity by using sub-acute toxicity data is generally irrelevant. It could even lead to a risk of overdosing in the range-finding study, which may result in the death of many or all of the animals used.