Pre-clinical models underpin some of the most exciting discoveries in neuroscience. For example, over the last three decades, animal models have enabled scientists to describe how we navigate our environment and uncover the mechanisms by which this ability is lost in Alzheimer's disease. These models are fundamental tools in characterizing the neural pathways that control coordinated movement, driving discoveries of pathological changes in those pathways that lead to the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.+ Read more
Research models and services blog posts
17 December, 2020
There are many uses for custom antibodies in research, from developing therapeutics to their use in in vitro assays. Production of antibodies is a technically demanding and time-consuming process, and it’s critical to choose a supplier with a strong track record. Here, we talk with Rook Khajenouri – our antibody production specialist at Envigo – about some key factors to consider when using antibodies in research. Rook also discussed how highly skilled specialists at research organizations like Envigo can contribute at each stage of the production process, from initial decision making to scaled-up production.+ Read more
18 November, 2020
The quality of preclinical research is key to the successful translation of new drugs to the clinic. An important driver of this quality is a healthy, meticulously managed, and accurately characterized animal colony. To achieve this requires dedication and experience, and success depends critically on state-of-the-art facilities, expertise in technologies and colony management practices, as well as comprehensive health and genetic monitoring protocols. How can researchers ensure flexible access to a reliable supply of these high-quality models? Well, there’s an art to it.+ Read more
22 October, 2020
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.+ Read more
14 September, 2020
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."+ Read more
04 August, 2020
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.+ Read more
17 June, 2020
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:+ Read more
01 June, 2020
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.+ Read more
18 May, 2020
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:+ Read more
21 April, 2020
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.+ Read more