Research models and services blog posts

22 October, 2020

Not all surgical models are equal: the beauty is in the details

By Envigo

Surgically modified animal models play a critical role in biomedical research, allowing researchers to mimic the structural and functional properties of human conditions. However, it is only with highly consistent, standardized models that researchers can be confident their results are reliable and repeatable. Yet, maintaining the technical skills necessary to complete precise surgical procedures is costly and time consuming for individual research laboratories. As a result, time-poor research teams are increasingly recognizing the value that contract research services can add.

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14 September, 2020

Patient-derived xenograft: making personalized medicine even more personal

By Envigo

It is well established that personalized medicine can overcome some limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare. In research and practice, personalized medicine is being increasingly utilized. For example, it is playing an increased role in efficacy studies for biomarker-driven therapies and informs treatment.

However, for the field to evolve further, the development of highly characterized pre-clinical models is essential in order to evaluate new targeted therapies and increase the scope of actionable mutations in the clinic. One such model, which helps bridge the preclinical research and the clinic, is the patient-derived xenografts (PDX) - where tissue from a patient's tumor is implanted into an immunodeficient or humanized mouse. 

Using PDX models in research means that mutations seen in the clinic can be factored into the discovery pipeline from the earliest phases of a research program, in the preclinical setting. Andrew Brown, Global Product Manager at Envigo explains how this approach could transform the future of cancer treatments:

"PDX models allow us to work backwards from the clinic, so that development phases can target the mutations seen in patients. We can then go on to screen for those mutations in other patients, offering the opportunity to pair up an individual with the treatment that's been targeted to a true representation of their tumor."

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04 August, 2020

Cryopreservation and rederivation: Two steps forward, no setback

By Envigo

Effective colony management ensures reproducible research outcomes and adherence to the principles of the 3Rs. Cryopreservation and rederivation services are highly effective tools for meeting these standards but are not yet broadly used. Recent research has revealed that many laboratory professionals are unaware of the benefits of cryopreservation and rederivation for effective colony management, which may explain the variable uptake of these services across facilities. 

Now that research is resuming following the difficulties posed by COVID-19, researchers are keenly aware of the need to consider proactive disaster-mitigation strategies within their colony management plans. With this additional focus in mind, cryopreservation and rederivation services are uniquely placed to bolster efficiency, embed 3R principles, and ensure research continuity in the face of unseen circumstances. 

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17 June, 2020

How COVID-19 has changed the biomedical industry

By Envigo

The shift in research priorities due to COVID-19 has required rapid adjustment across the biomedical sector. The speed and effectiveness of this response supports our current scientific understanding of the virus, and will eventually lead to the delivery of symptomatic treatments and preventative vaccines.

In particular, animal research is critical in the global search for a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Rodent models are advancing our understanding of the virus itself, and research in non-human primates can ensure the safety profile of potential therapies, before they proceed to human trials. 

However, animal research organizations are experiencing the same COVID-19 related complications as any other industry. For those who provide the tools and services necessary for this research, it has been a prominent concern to ensure scientists continue to have access to what they need.

Below, we highlight some of the ways the industry has adapted since the pandemic began:

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01 June, 2020

How COVID-19 has affected the non-human primate shortage

By Kurt Derfler

Why is the shortage in non-human primates such a serious issue for the scientific community?

Non-human primates (NHPs) are critical for clinical development pathways of new drug applications, but NHP suppliers are currently struggling to meet an unprecedented surge in global demand. 

A National Institute of Health (NIH) survey of grants awarded between 2013 and 2017 revealed that nearly half of NIH-funded investigators reported difficulty in obtaining sufficient numbers of NHPs or related services for their research. The implications of this include critical delays in study initiation and widespread requests for grant extensions. These are driven by stretched timelines and increased costs, unforeseen when grant amounts were originally requested. 

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18 May, 2020

4 tips to help secure research funding

By Envigo

Securing research funding is becoming increasingly difficult with the ever-growing competition across all disciplines worldwide vying for grant approval. For instance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests nearly $42 billion in medical research every year. Eighty percent of that goes toward extramural research. That's roughly 50,000 competitive grants to 300,000+ researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions across the globe. 

The NIH granted 3,413 awards to 167 of those research institutions last year. It's the largest, single source of funding for biomedical research in the world. Yet, those numbers suggest investigators have a less than seven percent chance of receiving NIH approval. Here are four tips to help scientists succeed in securing grants and other funding:

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21 April, 2020

Rodents in research: Is 2020 the year of the lab rat?

By Envigo

Lab rats and mice have been used for decades to make great medical advances, from HIV antiretrovirals to the flu vaccine. But there’s always been an interesting debate about which is the more useful animal model — the rat or the mouse.

With the current devastating emergence of the coronavirus pathogen, flexible research models have never been more important. Let’s take a closer look at the story behind the debate to see if 2020 will indeed be the year of the lab rat.

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09 March, 2020

Care and husbandry for immunodeficient rodents: guidance to reduce risks in your research

By Jamie Naden

Immunodeficient rodents can serve as a valuable part of basic research studies to help researchers better understand immune-related diseases and immune response. Use of these unique models have driven medical advances in the development of chemotherapies, immunotherapies, biologics and CAR T-cell therapies and even contributed to imaging techniques and personalized medicines.

While these rodent models can be very powerful in research, they understandably require very special care to maintain their health status and reduce the risk of pathogens and infections that can derail research results.

This blog discusses how immunodeficient rodents can be bred and housed along with the considerations for bedding, enrichment, packing and shipping to ensure that these rodents have the care they require to remain healthy throughout their lives.  

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10 February, 2020

5 key research industry trends for 2020

By Envigo

Companies, businesses and research institutions dedicated to protecting and improving human, animal and plant life continue to make breakthroughs in understanding the nature of diseases that affect them.

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05 February, 2020

4 tips for developing a laboratory animal care training program

By Envigo

The quality of research and welfare of laboratory animals greatly depends on the competence of those caring for them humanely and responsibly. That is why a comprehensive training program is vital to all employees in any laboratory animal care setting. Such programs help ensure employees are qualified for their jobs and are complying with federal regulatory policies.

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