Research Involving Animals – Division of Biomedical Services

News and case studies

Browse news and case studies which relate to our research in the facility, as well as wider-reaching news stories regarding the use of animals in research and the advances of biomedical science.

Research examples before we reach the animal model (In vitro News)

Ageing is inevitable. Or is it? There are organisms that do not seem to age, such as jellyfish and hydras. This suggests that there are ways to stop or slow down the degeneration that organs experience with time. The first step would be to understand why we age. This is what the ageing research community has been intensively investigating in the past decades, and we now have what we believe is a detailed picture of the biological processes involved. Chief among them seems to be the progressive accumulation of a particular type of old cells (called senescent) that disrupt the normal function of tissues and thus importantly contribute to the symptoms associated with ageing and age-related diseases. Experiments with genetically engineered mice have shown in the past years that clearing these cells from tissues prolongs the lifespan and, more importantly, the healthspan of the animals. The key now is to find a way to do the same in humans. This article describes the development of a new type of targeted drug that can detect and selectively kill senescent cells. Similar to an “intelligent bomb”, this drug is made of an antibody that can recognize an old cell and a toxic cargo that is then delivered into that cell. This is the first of this kind of specific drugs made to clear senescent cells from human tissues. The article explains how it has been designed and how it works in human cells in culture. Next step would be to test this drug in ageing mice to see if their lifespan and/or healthspan are improved.

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