ISTT at FELASA

13th FELASA Congress, 13-16 June, 2016 – Brussels, Belgium
Respectfully submitted by Boris Jerchow:

Together with Board members Benoît Kanzler and Branko Zevnik, I had the chance to take part in the 2016 edition of the triennial conference of the Federation of European Laboratory Science Associations (FELASA), which took place in Brussels, Belgium, between June 13 and 16. With the kind support of our members Sandra Buhl and Kristin Evans we represented ISTT with a booth. The meeting mainly covered topics important for those involved in laboratory animal science. The conference was divided into six streams:
• Governance, including reports on the transposition of 2010 EU Directive aimed at harmonizing animal welfare standards throughout Europe that has a lot of impact on our work but is still in a phase in which the new regulations are being implemented in daily routines. The stream also addressed active information of the public and ways to conduct an ethical review process. Aurora Brønstad, who also presented at TT2016 in Prague, spoke on the important topic of harm-benefit analysis of animal experiments [1, 2].
• Joint programs across Europe, including education and training, competence management, and 3Rs programs, to name just a few.
• Safety issues with a strong focus on health monitoring of aquatic, amphibian, and rodent species. Moreover, this stream included topics such as occupational health and safety and best working practices but also best practices for husbandry and care, quality of feed, water, and enrichment.

• Common diseases of humans and animals. This stream addressed disease and disease models for metabolic disease, cancer, and also infectious disease including zoonoses. It also included presentations on BLS3 facilities and research with non-human primates.
• Animal well-being emphasized the importance of using the broad understanding of what is going on inside an animal to assess and improve its well-being. The stream contained presentations and discussions about behavioral and neural science, as well as severity assessment, prospectively and also during the time when while animals are being used experimentally by employing clinical signs to recognize pain, suffering distress or lasting harm. I found the latter notably important for our community as we are the ones generating and using genetically altered (GA) animals that may well present with a condition affecting their well-being that should be taken into account before starting the experiment and closely followed during their lifetime. GA animals should also be monitored for unforeseen effects that may compromise their well-being and measures to alleviate pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm should be taken

whenever possible.
• Animal models and animal experiments. For this session I had been asked to convene a session with the title “Genetic modification – technologies and pitfalls”. Together with Ann van Soom, Tom Vanden Berghe and Lluis Montoliu, we informed the audience about the latest technologies in the field, the relevance of the non-coding genome, the threat of passenger mutations, and epigenetic effects. Other sessions in this stream discussed experimental design and reporting, how to process, share, and review acquired as well as existing data, imaging techniques, and various experimental paradigms.
In general there was a strong focus on animal welfare, especially on refinement of procedures, which was present over all streams and sessions. Much of the conference was under the influence of the still ongoing implementation of the regulations of the EU Directive on animal experimentation. Due to the importance of European scientific activities in the world, the pressure on scientific publishers to adopt higher animal welfare and reporting standards, and tight cooperation with countries outside the EU, namely the United States, these regulations will impact on animal experimentation worldwide. The same is true for health standards where FELASA guidelines have already become a gold standard. Although FELASA Conferences draw an audience quite distinct from our TT Meetings, there is a small but important overlap in interest. I am convinced that the ISTT should keep on striving to foster a vivid exchange with FELASA and the laboratory animal science community.

1. Bronstad, A., et al., Current concepts of Harm-Benefit Analysis of Animal Experiments – Report from the AALAS-FELASA Working Group on Harm-Benefit Analysis – Part 1. Lab Anim, 2016. 50(1 Suppl): p. 1-20.
2. Laber, K., et al., Recommendations for Addressing Harm-Benefit Analysis and Implementation in Ethical Evaluation – Report from the AALAS-FELASA Working Group on Harm-Benefit Analysis – Part 2. Lab Anim, 2016. 50(1 Suppl): p. 21-42.

ISTT Booth at FELASA
Benoit Kanzler, Sandra Buhl and Boris Jerchow
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Pens and futbol at the ISTT Booth

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page
The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page

The new (2014) FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of mouse, rat, hamster, guinea pig and rabbit colonies in breeding and experimental units have been released as open access document from Laboratory Animals journal web page. This updated reference document has been prepared by the FELASA working group on revision of guidelines for health monitoring of rodents and rabbits, formed by Michael Mähler (Convenor, GV-SOLAS), Marion Bérard (AFSTAL), Ricardo Feinstein (Scand-LAS), Alec Gallagher (LASA), Brunhilde Illgen-Wilcke (SGV), Kathleen Pritchett-Corning (AALAS) and Marcello Raspa (AISAL and ISTT Member). The previous and up-to-now current FELASA recommendations for the health monitoring of rodents and rabbits had been published in 2002 (Nicklas et al. 2002, Laboratory Animals). Therefore this new document, released in 2014, substitutes and updates the previous guidelines reported 12 years ago.

As it is stated in the abstract of this updated 2014 FELASA recommendations document: “These recommendations are aimed at all breeders and users of laboratory mice, rats, Syrian hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits as well as diagnostic laboratories. They describe essential aspects of health monitoring, such as the choice of agents, selection of animals and tissues for testing, frequency of sampling, commonly used test methods, interpretation of results and health monitoring reporting“. FELASA and, in particular, the co-authors of this compelling updated recommendations for health monitoring of rodents and rabbits need to be praised for this work. This document will not only help and contribute to the desired harmonization of the health monitoring programmes across animal facilities but also it will provide important elements for the correct preparation and interpretation of Health Monitoring results.

A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River

A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River
A report on the 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Strasbourg, organized by Charles River

The 7th European Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science, organized by Charles River, just closed in Strasbourg, France, after three days of interesting presentations and discussions at the intersection between animal welfare, animal experimentation, current guidelines and legislation, biomedical research from academia and industry and society perception on these topics. The Organizers should be praised for the selection and variety of topics, as well as for the smooth and pleasant running of the entire course, which included an enjoyable visit to an old typical cellar from the Alsace region along with a wine-testing Gala dinner.

Several ISTT members participated in this event, including organizers (Cyril Desvignes, Jean Cozzi), members of the steering committee (Johannes Wilbertz), invited speakers (Belén Pintado, Yann Herault, Ignacio Anegon, Lluís Montoliu), and participants (Marcello Raspa, Ferenc Erdelyi, Gabor Szabo,…) among other.

During this course, the recent EU Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used in research and its implication on the use of animals in biomedical research and policies throughout Europe was discussed, from different angles, by Magda Chlebus, Gill Fleetwood, Thierry Decelle, Patri Vergara and Belén Pintado. Topics covered included the new training courses and competencies to work with experimentation animals in Europe, the animal-welfare bodies and the current understanding of the 3R’s paradigm. Javier Guillén compared, side by side, the new EU Directive with the current Guide in the US and highlighted their many coincidences, suggesting that a combined use of both documents would be ideal for the adoption of successful animal care and use programs. Jan-Bas Prins, current president of FELASA, presented his view of the field of laboratory animal sciences, before the implementation of this new EU Directive, as an opportunity and a positive challenge to interface and exchange knowledge with many other players involved.

Health monitoring programs, rodent microbiologic surveillance, methods employed to detect all these pathogens robustly in laboratory animal facilities and the updated recommendations from FELASA, recently published in Laboratory Animals, were presented by William Shek, Guy Mulder, Stéphanie Durand and Axel Kornerup Hansen. Operational and technical aspects of animal facilities were discussed by Alberto Gobbi and Peter Dockx, whereas the issues related with occupational health and safety program evaluations were presented by Jann Hau.

Examples of the use of rodent animal models in biomedical research, in academia, by James Di Santo and Andrea Bertotti, as well as in the industry, by Joyce L. Young, were discussed. The importance of genetic quality in mouse research as well as the complexity of mouse genome and the impact of the genetic background on phenotypes was presented by Charles Miller and Lluís Montoliu, respectively. The procedures conducted at the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) as well as the challenges they encountered during the deployment of this impressively large enterprise were presented and discussed by Sara Wells and, by the local representative, Yann Herault, Director of the French Mouse Clinic, ICS, in Strasbourg, who delivered the closing talk.

The newest technologies in stem cell biology and animal transgenesis were also present at this 7th Short Course. Hongkui Deng summarized the most innovative approach he devised to prepare induced-pluripotent cells from somatic cells, using a cocktail of four chemicals, four molecules that mimicked the induction signals described by Shinya Yamanaka. The new logics for the production of targeted genetic modifications, using editing or engineered nucleases (Meganuclease, ZFNs, TALENs, CRISPRs) in mice and rats was presented by Ralf Kuehn and Ignacio Anegon, respectively.

The choice of rodent anaestesia protocols was discussed by Aurelie Thomas, whereas the various methods for euthanasia in rodents were presented by Huw Golledge. On the last day, Aurora Bronstad summarized the work done at the AALAS-FELASA joint working group on harm-benefit analysis, whereas Katrina Gore highlighted the need for more robust analytical procedures in research protocols involving animal experimentation, in order to optimize the rate of success of pre-clinical drugs.

In summary, the 7th Edition of this biennial Charles River Short Course on Laboratory Animal Science in Europe, attended by some 120 participants, was an excellent opportunity to update information related to animal welfare, EU legislation and transposition difficulties in various countries, newest technologies, mouse genomics and genetics, large mouse consortia and numerous important topics that are relevant for animal facility managers, researchers, veterinarians and anyone else interested in the best use of animals in experiments, according to current laws and recommendations.

The ISTT at FELASA-2013 in Barcelona

The ISTT booth at the FELASA-2013 Congress in Barcelona
The ISTT booth at the FELASA-2013 Congress in Barcelona

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is participating as exhibitor at the current FELASA-SECAL Congress, being held in Barcelona (Spain), on June 10-13, 2013. Alison Cameron, the ISTT administrative assistant, will be responsible for the ISTT booth. If you are attending this international conference on Laboratory Animal Science, please come to visit us. We’ll be deligthed to welcome all of you at the ISTT booth (#230), at the FELASA-SECAL 2013 venue, in the beautiful town of Barcelona. Looking forward to meeting you there!

Numerous ISTT events in June 2013

Numerous ISTT events in June 2013
Numerous ISTT events in June 2013

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) will be participating and/or co-sponsoring numerous events during the month of June 2013. At first, on June 7, 2013, our ISTT colleagues from Nantes (France), Ignacio Anegon and Séverine Ménoret, experts in the generation of transgenic rats, will be holding their 2013 Nantes Transgenic meeting on “Technical advances in the generation of transgenic animals and in their applications“. Next, on June 10-13, 2013, in Barcelona (Spain), the 12th FELASA-SECAL congress will take place, where the ISTT will be participating in two ways. First, the ISTT will co-sponsor the satellite workshop on Mouse Sperm Cryopreservation, to be held within the 2013 FELASA meeting, on 10 June 2013, Barcelona, Spain, and organized by ISTT members Jorge Sztein (NIH, USA) and Jesús Martínez-Palacio (CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain). Second, the ISTT will be participating as exhibitor and will attend the 2013 FELASA meeting. The ISTT will have a booth in Barcelona (#230), manned by the ISTT administrative assistant, Alison Cameron, and where all ISTT members (and non-ISTT members) are welcome to visiting us. Finally, immediately next, our ISTT colleagues from The Netherlands, Marian Van Roon (VU, Amsterdam) and Sjef Verbeek (LUMC, Leiden), have organized their 2013 Workshop on Innovative Mouse Models (IMM2013). This 7th Workshop on Innovative Mouse Models will be held on 13-14 June 2013, at the Leiden University Medical Center, LUMC, Leiden, The Netherlands, and the ISTT will be co-sponsoring also this event. ISTT members will be entitled to reduced registrations at all these events, proudly co-sponsored by the ISTT.

ISTT will be present at the FELASA-2013 Congress in Barcelona

ISTT will be present at the FELASA-2013 Congress in Barcelona
ISTT will be present at the FELASA-2013 Congress in Barcelona

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) will be present, as exhibitor, at the FELASA-2013 Congress that will be held in Barcelona (Spain), on 10-13 June 2013. The ISTT had already supported and participated as co-sponsor in previous FELASA meetings, but this time our Society will be represented officially by Alison Cameron, the ISTT administrative assistant, who will be responsible for the ISTT booth (#230) at the FELASA-2013 congress venue. We warmly invite all ISTT members attending the FELASA-2013 meeting to visit us at the ISTT booth.

Mouse sperm cryopreservation: satellite workshop at the 2013 FELASA-SECAL Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 10 June 2013

Mouse sperm cryopreservation: satellite workshop at the 2013 FELASA-SECAL Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 10 June 2013
Mouse sperm cryopreservation: satellite workshop at the 2013 FELASA-SECAL Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 10 June 2013

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) is pleased to announce the approved co-sponsorship of the Mouse Sperm Cryopreservation satellite workshop, organized by Jorge Sztein (NIH, Rockville, MD, USA) and Jesús Martínez Palacio (CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain), both ISTT members, in Barcelona (Spain) on 10 June 2013, within the activities associated to the 2013 FELASA-SECAL Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 10-13 June 2013. The main objective of this workshop is to acquaint students on reliable methods of mouse sperm cryopreservation, Jax and Nakagata, without requiring appliances or large investments to establishing a program at their centers. This course involves manipulation of animals and LN2.

This half-day satellite workshop will be held on 10 June 2013 from 09.00 to 12.00 h. at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Experimental Animal Unit. Satellite workshop registration fee: €120. Seats are limited to 24 participants. ISTT members, including those already registered to attend this workshop, are entitled to 25% discount. Interested participants should contact: felasa2013-registrations@mondial-congress.com

 

A symposium report: New generation GMOs. Refinement in procedures, Helsinki 2010

SYMPOSIUM :New generation GMOs: Refinement in procedures, Helsinki 2010
SYMPOSIUM :New generation GMOs: Refinement in procedures, Helsinki 2010

The symposium on “New generation GMOs: Refinement in procedures“, chaired by Belén Pintado and Jan Bas Prins, co-sponsored by the International Society forTransgenic Technologies (ISTT), organized within the Scand-FELASA 2010 meeting “New paradigms in laboratory animal science”, was held in Helsinki (Finland), on June 14-17, 2010. The event was a great success and higlighted the importance of “promoting the activities of ISTT among scientific collectives not directly involved in transgenesis, but that have close contact with present or future individuals that may benefit from our society”, as Belen Pintado concluded in her meeting report.

FELASA 2010 – next week in Helsinki

FELASA 2010, Helsinki (Finland), June 14-17
FELASA 2010, Helsinki (Finland), June 14-17

Next week, on June 14-17, will be held the FELASA 2010 meeting in Helsinki (Finland), devoted to “New Paradigms in Laboratory Animal Science”. This meeting is co-sponsored by ISTT. Current ISTT Treasurer, Belen Pintado, co-chairs a workshop on “New generation GMOs from a laboratory animal perspective“.

ISTT co-sponsors the FELASA 2010 meeting

Scand-FELASA 2010 meeting
Scand-FELASA 2010 meeting

The next FELASA (the Federation of Laboratory Animal Science Associations) meeting, a joint FELASA/Scand-LAS symposium, entitled “New paradigms in Laboratory Animal Science” is co-sponsored by the International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT). This combined meeting will be held in Helsinki, Finland, on June 14-17, 2010. The meeting includes a symposium on “New generation GMOs: refinement in procedures“, co-organized by Belén Pintado, current ISTT Treasurer.