Welcome to the October episode of 3-Minute 3Rs, brought to you by Lab Animal (www.nature.com/laban, the NC3Rs (www.nc3rs.org.uk) & the North American 3Rs Collaborative (www.na3rsc.org)
Here are the papers behind the pod:
1. Generation of Tumor-Reactive T Cells by Co-culture of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes and Tumor Organoids. https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(18)30903-6
2. Mymou: A low-cost, wireless touchscreen system for automated training of nonhuman primates. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758%2Fs13428-018-1109-5
3. Practical rat tickling: Determining an efficient and effective dosage of heterospecific play. https://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(18)30255-7/fulltext
[LA] Organoids are three-dimensional tissue cultures that resemble more complicated structures. They're promising alternatives to animal models for studying diseases and for testing potential treatments. But tissues grown in a dish lack an immune system. That's a critical component for predicting how something will function in a living organism. To add some immunity to their organoids, Emile Voest from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and his colleagues recently developed a new co-culturing platform. In their latest work, published in the journal Cell in September, they culture epithelial organoids, derived from human cancer patients, along with blood from those same patients. The co-culturing platform allowed the researchers to study how T-cells from the patients’ immune systems interacted with the organoids, attacking cancerous cells while ignoring healthy ones. It’s a personal approach for understanding immunotherapy, no animals required.
[NA3RsC] We all strive to provide laboratory animals with positive welfare, but it’s difficult to actually know how animals feel. But with rats, we have a unique window into their emotional lives through their vocalizations. Rats make positive ultrasonic vocalizations when they play and when they’re tickled. What is tickling? It mimics rat rough and tumble play, which rats will eagerly seek out. But how much time does this technique take? A recent publication by LaFollette et al, gives us that answer. Researchers tickled rats for a frequency of 1, 3, or 5 days and for a duration of 15, 30, or 60 seconds. They found that 3-days of tickling was the most efficient and effective. These rats produced more positive vocalizations before and during tickling, played more, and were less inactive in their home cage before tickling. However the duration of tickling didn’t matter. This suggests that 3 short sessions of tickling can go a long way to make rats happier to interact with humans and to improve rat welfare.
[NC3Rs] Many neuroscientific studies involve training nonhuman primates to perform cognitive tasks. But traditional training methods raise some key concerns. These include the need to separate animals from their home environment, causing them stress that affects both their welfare and their performance. Enter Mymou, a refined training system developed by James Butler and Steve Kennerley at University College London and described in a recent Behavior Research Methods paper. Mymou, named after the Greek word for "monkey" is a wireless touchscreen system that is installed in the home environment. It runs continuously, so monkeys can train whenever they want in familiar surroundings. Built in facial recognition allows different tasks to be assigned to different individuals while real-time data analysis means tasks can be adapted as training progresses. The set-up uses commercially available components and costs under £400, or around 500 USD. If that wasn't enough, Mymou is also fully open source, making it even easier to try out in any lab. Following the link in the description to find out more.