WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - For decades, the traditional practice in animal testing has been standardization, but a study involving Purdue University has shown that adding as few as two controlled environmental variables to preclinical mice tests can greatly reduce costly false positives, the number of animals needed for testing and the cost of pharmaceutical trials.
Joseph Garner, a Purdue assistant professor of animal sciences, said the finding challenges the assumption in drug discovery and related fields that animal experiments should eliminate all variables. He said that despite standardization efforts, two experiments in different labs could never truly be exactly the same because of uncontrollable variables such as the scent of the researchers or background noises.
"Human drug trials get around this problem by deliberately including variability in the experiment in a controlled manner so that the effect of a drug can be tested across a variable human population," Garner said.
Garner and his co-authors compared results from multiple mice experiments set up in a standardized manner against multiple experiments set up with controlled variables as if the mice were people.
"Overall, the differences between experiments are much, much greater in the standardized setups than in the ones where we deliberately varied the environment as if the experiment was a human drug trial," said Garner, whose results were published in the current issue of the journal Nature Methods. "In fact, the traditional standardized experiments generally disagreed with each other, while the experiments designed like a human drug trial generally agreed with each other."
The study is a follow-up of another published last year in Nature Methods in which Garner, Hanno Wrbel, a co-author on the papers and professor at the University of Giessen in Germany, and Helene Richter, Wrbel's graduate student, suggested that adding controlled
|Contact: Brian Wallheimer|