Saturday, 3 December 2011

Research News: Reporting guidelines for Animal Studies

Baker D & Amor S. Publication guidelines for refereeing and reporting on animal use in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol. Nov [Epub]

Experimental Autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is one of the major pre-clinical (beefore human use) models of multiple sclerosis. Use of this model has led to some important observations that has benefited human health, but it must also be said that there are many poor-quality studies using EAE that add little to knowledge or understanding. The lack of quality of clinical trials in humans led to the introduction of publication guidelines that aimed to improve the quality and transparency of studies. Therefore, with a view of doing the same, the ARRIVE (Animals in research:Reporting in vivo (live animal) experiments) guidelines were developed as a checklist of information required for publication of animal studies. Based on the ARRIVE guidelines (see above to open access paper) , guidance on acceptable data handling was provided that indicates the minimal acceptable standard that should be adhered to when reporting and importantly refereeing all publications relating to EAE. This is designed to constructively improve the quality of published work and reduce the futile use of animals in research.

MouseDoctor does not intend to be Policemouse patrolling the literature for "Bad Science", however it intends to empower people to say some work is not of a good standard to warrant publication, don't do it, as we don't want to read it.

The Journal of Neuroimmunology is the official journal of the International Society for Immunology (ISNI), which has been a focus for animal MS work for many years. The contents of the manuscript were supported by the senior members of the INSI. Should this be "rolled-out" to other journals. Of course it should with the backing of Learned Socieities and Journals working in this field but it will take an International effort to achieve this. The article is just part of beginning of the debate that is needed?

Will it fall on deaf ears, well maybe as no one likes being told what to do, but it provides a framework for planning and undertaking animal studies that aims to enhance the value of the work reported. It is also a start, even 20 years ago virtually no-one reported that they had their studies independently assessed to some extent, now it is the vast majority of studies have some form of review.

Animal rights have been central to the use of animals in research for over a hundred years in the UK and is one of (arguably the) most regulated countries in the World when it comes to animal research.
It also has a National Centre for the Refinement, Reduction and Replacement of Animals in Research that developed the ARRIVE guidelines and helps Team G develop more ethical animal models of MS. The European Union and other parts of the world are having to move towards the ethical procedures that have been in operation in the UK for years. Can we improve this, of course we can and this new report aims to aid this process.

CoI: This publication was by Members of Team G

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