Our goals are to develop animal models and to characterize them. So, we have to work with animals as integrated organisms. Indeed, it is quite obvious that it is difficult to replace a mouse when studying diseases such as Trisomy or Alzheimer's disease. However, everytime it is possible, preliminary studies are performed in vitro. It also enables us to reduce the number of animals used.
ICS is involved in international programs designed to reduce the number of animals used:
Eumorphia: this program is about standardization of phenotyping procedures and statistical studies. It has helped us in obtaining statistically relevant results. Indeed, reducing the number of animals is essential but we have to reach a balance between not enough animals for statistical issue (waste of animals because we can't conclude) and too much animals.
Eumodic and IMPC: the goal of these programs is to pool results of control animals. The database obtained in many mouse strains will permit to compare tested animals to database in order to reduce the number of control animals used. More globaly, sharing information will avoid the duplication of studies and so will reduce the number of animals used in research. And finally we are developing imaging and using it in longitudinal protocols. Indeed, performing X-Ray or ultrasounds on the same animals all along a study avoid the use of several groups euthanized every week as done many years ago.
Refinement is about improving animal welfare. ICS pratices refinement both in housing and in protocols. More generally, as a part of the quality management, we work on each protocol to improve it and validate it through an SOP (Standard Operative Procedure)
Developping an ethical approach at every step:
At each step of our work with mice we promote ethical and welfare approaches to ensure them the best conditions and to respect their well-being. ICS favors enrichment (bedding, nest, small cardboard houses,...), take care of their physiological needs (temperature, ventilation, food ad libitum, circadian rhythm and housing conditions,...).
One of our goals being the breeding of mutant mice we have to think about their specific needs. Indeed, those mice are to be human diseases models (diabetes, obesity, etc.). We are particularly attentive with them to prevent any physiological disorder, to ensure their welfare, to treat them when needed.