Researchers at King's College London and the University of Southern Denmark have received a research contract of £750,000 to investigate the use of laser light in animal research.
They plan to develop a laser technique that will help establish a more effective and humane approach to animal research by:
- quickly identifying the disease in the animal
- showing how the disease is developing at the molecular level
- identifying the impact the medicine has on the disease
Current methods to measure the effectiveness of medicine in animals can be intrusive. Dr Mads Bergholt from King's College London explains: "We will use laser light to generate 3D images of the animal. These show how light is scattered and from this we can identify the disease.
"When laser light hits a molecule in a cell, it is scattered in a very specific pattern. The light can therefore be used as a molecule fingerprint. This allows us to find out what the disease is."
The multi-disciplinary team are currently focusing on potential arthritis medications and the new technique will give the team information on what goes on in in the joint. They hope it will allow early detection of cartilage, bone damage and healing.
The project will run over three years and is funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).
All universities, including King's College London, are committed to the '3Rs' of replacement, reduction and refinement. This means avoiding or replacing the use of animals where possible, minimising the number of animals used per experiment.