Positive Strides at AALAS Meeting

The 62nd National Meeting of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)—the largest research animal-specific conference in the United States—was held in San Diego, California, October 2–6, 2011. AWI was there and engaged many research professionals and laboratory staff in conversations regarding how to provide the best care for animals in research. We also distributed more than 1,000 books and magazines on humane handling and care of animals in research.

As touched on in the summer 2011 issue of the AWI Quarterly, there has been an increase in interest in using dipyrone (metamizole) in rodent models of inflammation where pain relief is not yet incorporated into the standard of care. At the AALAS meeting, many visitors to the AWI booth showed great interest in hearing more about it. Since that meeting, three labs have contacted AWI Laboratory Animal Consultant Michele Cunneen to report that they have conducted at least one preliminary experiment using dipyrone—with promising results. They all plan to explore the use of dipyrone in rodent models of inflammation further. If your institution tries it, please let Michele (Michele@ awionline.org) know your results!

At the meeting, one encouraging example of the increasing emphasis on incorporating principles of the “3R’s” (replacement, reduction and refinement) to reduce animal suffering was a presentation by Abbott Labs on its creation of a full-time “alternatives coordinator.” This individual is assigned to take all the ideas staff members have about replacement and reduction of animals in experiments, and refinement of methods, and create a multidisciplinary team to evaluate and implement such ideas. In the less than a year that the coordinator has been in place, Abbott has tackled three 3R-related projects, all of which showed some benefit. The most impressive of these involved fine-tuning the analytical methods and techniques for a particular experiment, which resulted in reductions in the number of mice used for pharmacokinetic studies ranging from 50 to 88 percent (depending on the project area).