Discover the winners of this year's Global AAALAC/IQ Awards

The papers behind the pod:

1. A non-human primate in vitro functional assay for the early evaluation of TB vaccine candidates. npj Vaccines, January 2021.

2. Inducible dominant negative ErbB2 rat spermatogonial line for generation of transgenic rat model and dissecting ERBB2 tyrosine kinase mediated pathways. Experimental Oncology, June 2019.

3. Characterization of drug responses of mini patient-derived xenografts in mice for predicting cancer patient clinical therapeutic response. Cancer Communications, September 2018.

Visit the AAALAC website to learn more about this year’s Global 3Rs Award winners:

It’s the third Thursday of November, and you’re listening to 3 Minute 3Rs, your monthly recap of efforts to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research. This month, we’re celebrating our fourth birthday, and we’re also celebrating this year’s Global AAALAC/IQ Award winners. Three papers were recognized this year, by scientists in Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim.

First let’s hear about the European winner: Dr Rachel Tanner at the University of Oxford. Tuberculosis is a serious global health problem with rising cases and deaths, in part, due to the current vaccine being insufficient. To develop a new vaccine, non-human primates are necessary relevant animal model, but efforts to refine their use are needed.

Recently, a team has developed an in vitro assay to refine and expedite early tuberculosis vaccine testing. This assay uses non-human primate blood or cell samples to measure the ability to control mycobacterial replication. Importantly, it allows vaccine candidates to be tested without infecting non-human primates with tuberculosis directly. Rather, blood samples can be taken before and after vaccination and tested in vitro to examine efficacy.

This work is a promising 3Rs tool to facilitate early testing of new vaccine candidates.

To learn more, read the full paper online.

Next, let’s move to North America and Dr Andrew Syvyk from Texas A&M University, who won the prize for work on a simpler way to generate transgenic animal models. Such models can be tailored to study specific genes, for example by introducing a gene construct into a zygote or embryonic stem cell, but this is a long process that requires numerous steps and manipulations, and therefore a lot of animals.

In his winning paper, Syvyk describes a simpler approach using immature sperm cells, or spermatogonia. The model involves manipulating spermatogonial stem cells from a donor male, which are then transplanted into recipient males. These can be used to breed transgenic animals directly, eliminating mosaicism and reducing the number of animals required.

The paper discusses using this approach to study ERBB2, a protein involved in multiple biological processes and forms of cancer. As well as being used to generate transgenic animals, the cells can be used for in vitro research, further reducing reliance on in vivo models for investigating molecular pathways.

Want to learn more about the model? Find the paper in Experimental Oncology via the link in the description.

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