Mouse Kidney Parvovirus (MKPV) - A New Mouse Pathogen

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The kidneys of immunodeficient mice infected with MKPV appear pale and shrunken on gross necropsy. Histology reveals significant fibrosis. Source: Roediger et al. Cell 20181. A consortium of researchers from Australia and the US has announced the discovery of a novel mouse parvovirus, named mouse kidney parvovirus or MKPV. They report this highly infectious pathogen causes inclusion body nephropathy (a type of kidney disease) and eventually renal...  Read More

How Animal Model Handling Affects Your Research

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Researchers who regularly work with mice and rats understand that incorrect handling practices creates unnecessary stress for the animal. If one is new to working with preclinical animal models, or is introducing a new strain to their work, a quick refresher on the benefits of correct handling procedures could be very useful. Improper Animal Handling Causes Stress Certain stressors that affect mice and rats cannot be avoided....  Read More

Animal Models in Drug Discovery

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The use of animal models in research resulted in the advancement of knowledge for how diseases affect animals and humans. It has also led to the effective treatment of disease symptoms or in many cases disease cures. There are a wide variety of animal models used in drug discovery including, but not limited to Drosophila, C. elegans, mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats and non-human primates. Over the...  Read More

The Drug Discovery Process

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Introducing a new drug to market is a complex and time-consuming process that can cost pharmaceutical companies an average $2.6 billion and ten years of research and development. There are multiple defined stages for this process, each with their own associated challenges, timelines, and costs. This review will discuss the entire process, from target discovery through clinical trials and post-approval monitoring for the development of a new...  Read More

Animal Models in Space Research

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On Wednesday, December 5th, the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket launched to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying 5,600 lbs of supplies; a small portion of which were mice of varying ages2. Animal models have been used in space research since the 1940s, and these ongoing projects help us understand how spaceflight affects health in greater depth. This review will highlight the various animal models that have been...  Read More

Effective Communication Improves Quality

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Let's listen in on a hypothetical conversation between a scientist and their procurement department where communication is being used ineffectively: PROCUREMENT OFFICER seated at desk. Enter a SCIENTIST. SCIENTIST: Order me twenty-four B6 mice. Males and Females. Seven weeks of age. PROCUREMENT: (Thinking to themselves) Same scientist, same number of mice from three months ago, I can just replicate the order. (To Scientist) OK. When do you...  Read More

How Are Animal Models Validated?

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Animal models have led to significant leaps in understanding and advancement in human medicine. They are essential for drug discovery and connecting hypothesis-driven benchwork to the patient. However, scientists have struggled with how to define the value of a given animal model1. Animal Model Validation In 1969, McKinney and Bunney were the first to propose criteria on external validity of animal models, mainly focused on affective disorders2....  Read More

'Twas the End of the Year

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With apologies to Clement C. Moore 'Twas the end of the year, and in laboratories throughout Scientists were working, to get that last paper out; The final experiments were designed with true care, In the hopes of results and citations so rare. The protocols were written and IACUC form submitted, All resources accounted for, tagged and committed. The technicians in lab coats and experiments underway, Seemed to...  Read More

A Deep Dive into AI-based Animal Body Part Detection

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Alexander Mathis Animal behavior can provide valuable scientific insight, from assessing model validity of a disease state to understanding the function of complex neural circuits6,12. Accurately tracking an animal's body parts (such as limbs, digits, ears, snout, tail) is especially relevant within the neurodegenerative field11, but is difficult without highly specialized and demanding equipment. Many of the commercial systems and open source software...  Read More

Sex Bias in Animal Model Research

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced new policies in 2014 aimed at requiring NIH-funded researchers to address sex balance in preclinical cell and rodent models. Although exclusion of women in clinical research was identified as problematic decades ago, the preclinical research world has not followed suit. The NIH identified this continued reliance of animal studies on a single sex, often male, as inappropriate: "consideration of sex...  Read More