Humanising mice – more an exercise in testing the limits of the technology and less an answer to understanding hepatitis C infection.

The image shows six mice, lying other sides, with their faces pushed into plastic tubing delivering anaesthetic gas. The mice all have bright areas on their sides that indicates where they have tumours growing.

Modifying tumour cells from malignant liver cancer so that they shine brightly under specific conditions might seem like a neat trick. That is until you realise that this will not help diagnose, detect or eradicate cancer in people. Instead, these modified human cells are destined to be injected into a mouse, to generate a huge … Read more

Engineered to suffer

This picture shows a mouse with ALS, his hind legs are paralysed and curled up and he is small and scruffy.

ALS – or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease. Only five to 10 percent of ALS cases, called familial ALS, are believed to be inherited; the great majority of ALS is known as ‘sporadic’ with no known genetically inherited component. But the key features of familial and sporadic ALS are the … Read more

Science in transit- the move away from animals in research

In December 2016, I was invited by the European Commission to speak on a scientific panel at the conference Non-Animal Approaches – The Way Forward. The event was organised as part of the EU’s response to the citizen’s initiative ‘Stop Vivisection,’ which presented more than one million supporting signatures from across the EU to the … Read more

Don’t go breaking my heart…

What do self-driving cars, solar airplanes and renewable energy have in common with the human heart? At first thought, not a great deal, yet a recent scientific endeavour called the Living Heart Project has brought together experts in engineering, aeronautics and energy to produce a sophisticated new model of the human heart for use in … Read more

Finding better treatments for tuberculosis, the computer is mightier than the mouse

In March of 1882, Robert Koch used tissue from infected guinea pigs to show that the lung disease tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. At that time, TB (or ‘consumption’, as it was then known) was a constant presence in the population, infecting between 70 to 90 percent of people in urban … Read more