May 23rd 2022


23 de Maio de 2022



EARA News Digest 2022 - Week 21

Welcome to your Monday morning update, from EARA, on the latest news in biomedical science, policy and openness on animal research. 

Detecting cancerous cells during surgery

new imaging method has been developed, using mice, to allow surgeons to identify breast cancer cells more accurately.

The researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA, developed a probe which can detect cancerous cells while surgery is taking place. 

Detecting cancerous cells in breast tumour margins can be difficult and it is reported that around 20% of breast cancer surgeries require a second operation, to completely remove cancer cells.

The probe, can selectively illuminate breast cancer cells under near-infrared light and consists of a fluorescent dye and a peptide (p28), known to enter human breast cancer cells.

"Because p28 preferentially penetrates various types of human cancer cells, we anticipate that our imaging approach can be applied to additional cancer types.", said Tohru Yamada co-author of the study.



Approval for non-animal eye irritation tests

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has approved a new test guideline (TG) which offers a non-animal alternative for the assessment of eye irritation/serious eye damage.
The new TG for defined approaches (DAs) for eye damage and eye irritation caused by liquids, due to be published this summer, will offer an alternative to the current Draize eye test on rabbits.
DAs describe a fixed way to interpret data from a defined set of information sources, including in vitro tests and computer models and are ‘designed to overcome some of the limitations of standalone individual test methods and to increase confidence in non-animal results’. 
The guideline follows on from last year's TG for skin sensitisation.



Heart muscle regeneration in salamanders

While the human heart has a very limited capacity to regenerate itself amphibians, such as salamanders, can easily regenerate their heart muscles.

In a study by researchers at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, they found that the outermost layer of a salamander’s heart, called the epicardium, can act as a source of cardiac muscle cells to regenerate the heart.

This is an important discovery, as similar epicardial cells also exist in the human heart.

"This work establishes a new cellular and molecular paradigm for adult heart muscle regeneration and could offer new hope to millions of patients waiting for a heart transplant", said Professor Ken Chien, co-author of the study.

Heart diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.



Openness celebrated in the Netherlands

The successful Netherlands Open Week, which has showcased openness and transparency in animal research, should be an example  for other countries, said EARA executive director Kirk Leech.

In a series of events by signatories of the Dutch Transparency Agreement on Animal Testing public presentations, facility tours and media briefings highlighted the work of the biomedical sector to a wider audience.

- A public presentation by scientists (pictured) at EARA member Radboud University & Radboud UMC, in Nijmegen, to discuss their latest research, using animal models, was followed by a tour of the animal labs and facilities. EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, also gave a presentation on Global changes in communicating animal research.

- EARA member Charles River Laboratories (Den Bosch) hosted Lab Conversations, an event where the company welcomed the local companies, residents, politicians and the media, to discuss issues. An article on the visit then featured in a local paper.

- EARA member the Biomedical Primate Research Center, in Rijswijk, invited local journalists for a visit with a lecture, followed by a tour of the grounds. A newspaper article also appeared.

- Sportvisserij Nederland (Sport Fishing Netherlands), which carries out research on fish, also took part in Open Week and made a short film to show its work.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “This is a great example of how to open up facilities to a wider audience and bring a greater understanding of the issues for the public.

"It would be great to see this type of initiative taken up by other Transparency Agreements across the world.”

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