24.07.2023: Bf3R Seminar with Professor Georgia Mason: Can understanding animal welfare help improve the replicability and translatability of biomedical research?
Bf3R Seminar with Professor Georgia Mason: Can understanding animal welfare help improve the replicability and translatability of biomedical research?
Bf3R seminar with Professor Georgia Mason, University of Guelph, Canada.
The Bf3R seminars address issues related to the use of animal experiments and alternative methods in basic research and toxicology, as well as the 3Rs. They include a lecture of approx. 30 – 60 min, followed by a discussion.Flyer
Animal welfare scientists have long suggested that the constrained lives of lab animals could affect the quality of the data they yield. Some biomedical researchers have now added their voices, raising concerns about obesity and chronic cold in researchrats and mice respectively. Work by the PhD student Jessica Cait also recently ran meta-analyses showing that compared to well-resourced (or 'enriched') conditions, conventional housing conditions increase the severity of induced anxiety, cancer, cardiovasculardisease, depression and stroke, and enhance all-cause mortality (Cait et al. 2022). This work also echoed previous findings that research animals are male biased, leading us to label them 'CRAMPED' (cold, rotund, abnormal, male-biased, enclosed and distressed). But would improving housing conditions, and moving away from CRAMPED subjects, change research results? Some are scared by this possibility. However, it could represent an opportunity to improve the currently poor rates at which data from animals successfully translate to humans. I will present results from our new meta-analyses showing the extent to which housing quality can affect the conclusions drawn from studies of disease modifiers (e.g. therapeutic drugs). These results show that reporting housing conditionsis essential if research replicability is to be improved, and that welfare status, like sex, should be considered a 'biological variable' that can affect the generalisability of research findings.
German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
Max-Dohrn-Straße 8 – 10