3 Minute 3Rs February 2020
[NC3Rs] If you are bitten by a snake today, your anti venom treatment would be largely similar to if you were bitten 100 years ago.
Anti venom is created by isolating antibodies from a large animal, typically a horse, after the animal has been given repeated injections of small amounts of venom. But due to issues with anti venom production, efficacy and safety standards, over 100,000 people worldwide will die from snake bites each year. Venom is a complex mix of molecules, which vary between different snake species and can only be obtained by milking snakes. This has been an obstacle in anti venom research. But now scientists from the Netherlands have generated an in vitro method for producing venom from snake venom gland cells cultured in 3d structures. In a publication Cell, Post et al. successfully cultured snake venom gland organoids from nine different snake species including the Cape Coral Cobra.
The organoids growing definitely and produce functioning toxins, which could be used to further anti venom research. The organoids could also have further reaching consequences by enabling the development of new treatment options that might avoid the need for animals altogether. You can read more about snake venom gland organoids by following the link in the description.
[LA] Neurons are often studied in cell cultures, but those cultures have to come from an animal originally. Nor do they last all that long – primary neuron cultures generally need to be used in a few weeks. That can put a rush on reproducing experiments, and often means extra animals need to be maintained for future use.
To make cultures from a given cohort of mice last, researchers from University College London present a protocol to cryopreserve brain tissue and prepare neuronal cultures from it. Neurons retrieved from cryopreserved mouse hippocampi perform on par with freshly dissected cultures, with most physiological properties appearing unaffected by the process. Properly stored in liquid nitrogen, tissues can be frozen for at least two years.
The results and step-by-step details can be found in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.
[NA3RsC] In a manuscript recently published in JAALAS, Dr. Brianna Gaskill and Dr. Joe Garner address considerations for publishing negative results and make practical recommendations for conducting sufficiently powered research. This includes challenging the traditional use of a priori power analyses and pilot studies for justifications is animal numbers and instead using more sophisticated experimental designs and calculating the least significant number of experimental units necessary to produce sufficient power. The authors suggest that researchers collaborate with experts in biostatistics, comparative medicine and other disciplines early in the research planning process in order to consider improvements in experimental design and select of appropriate statistical tests. Such collaboration will ensure the creation of high-quality experiments, helping researchers to address the 3Rs while improving reproducibility and translational value of animal studies. Finally, the authors offer recommendations for reporting to improve the interpretation of results.
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