ATLA 40.6, December 2012

//ATLA 40.6, December 2012

Volume 40 issue 6

News & Views

ATLA staff writer

Potential Grapefruit–Drug Interactions
Human Serum Replaces Bovine Serum in Stem Cell Cultures
Cost and Benefits of Animal Experiments
Low-level Organophosphate Exposure and Impaired Cognition
C. elegans Study Aids Neurodegeneration Research
Gender Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease
Coronary Artery Disease Genetic Study
Environmental Exposure to be Monitored in Europeans
In Silico Analysis Shines Light on Prion Disease Development
InterNICHE Wins Prize
Transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU
Heart Disease in Captive Apes
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The Rational Use of Animals in Drug Development: Contribution of the Innovative Medicines Initiative

Magda Gunn, Elisabetta Vaudano and Michel Goldman

Animal models are still widely used to assess the efficacy or safety of new pharmaceutical products. Since their limitations in predicting actions of drugs in humans are becoming more and more apparent, there is an urgent need to revisit the use of animals in pharmaceutical research. Herein, we review how the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the largest public–private partnership in the life sciences, is reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals in the context of its global mission, namely, to boost research and the development of new medicines across the European Union.
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Training Needs for Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Survey-informed Analysis

Silvia Lapenna, Silke Gabbert and Andrew Worth

Current training needs on the use of alternative methods in predictive toxicology, including new approaches based on mode-of-action (MoA) and adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concepts, are expected to evolve rapidly. In order to gain insight into stakeholder preferences for training, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) conducted a single-question survey with twelve experts in regulatory agencies, industry, national research organisations, NGOs and consultancies. Stakeholder responses were evaluated by means of theory-based qualitative data analysis. Overall, a set of training topics were identified that relate both to general background information and to guidance for applying alternative testing methods. In particular, for the use of in silico methods, stakeholders emphasised the need for training on data integration and evaluation, in order to increase confidence in applying these methods for regulatory purposes. Although the survey does not claim to offer an exhaustive overview of the training requirements, its findings support the conclusion that the development of well-targeted and tailor-made training opportunities that inform about the usefulness of alternative methods, in particular those that offer practical experience in the application of in silico methods, deserves more attention. This should be complemented by transparent information and guidance on the interpretation of the results generated by these methods and software tools.
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Factors Affecting People’s Acceptance of the Use of Zebrafish and Mice in Research

Elisabeth H. Ormandy, Catherine A. Schuppli and Daniel M. Weary

The species of laboratory animal used is known to influence people’s willingness to support animal-based research. An online experiment was used to test people’s willingness to accept the use of zebrafish or mice, two of the most commonly used species, in research involving either induced mutation (specifically, ethyl-N-nitrosourea [ENU] mutagenesis) or genetic modification, with and without regulatory oversight. Participants who were willing to support research on zebrafish (31.9%) were also willing to support the same research on mice. The participants expressed low levels of support for research involving ENU mutagenesis of zebrafish in both unregulated (30.7%) and regulated (38.5%) research programmes. A reason for the rejection of ENU mutagenesis was the perception that the procedure is painful. Some participants expressed a preference for the use of genetically-modified (GM) animal models over ENU mutagenesis, based on the belief that the former involves less pain and improves both the accuracy and efficiency of the animal models. Better informing the public about scientific practice, and scientists about public attitudes, may help reduce the disconnect between scientific practice and societal values.
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The Value of In Vitro Models of the Blood–Brain Barrier and Their Uses

Adjanie Patabendige

A range of in vitro BBB models are available, that can simplify the complexities associated with the in vivo study of the BBB. However, the adoption of these models, especially for studying the pathology of the BBB, is still poor, despite their ability to complement and reduce animal experiments.
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