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No reprieve for America's antibody mice

点击量:   时间:2019-03-08 03:02:10

By Nell Boyce in Washington DC THE US is causing mice to suffer by not doing enough to phase out a controversial technique that uses the animals for making monoclonal antibodies, antivivisectionists claim. They are angered by a new report, commissioned by the federal government, that advises against banning the method. To produce large amounts of purified antibodies, researchers can fuse a tumour cell with a cell that makes the antibody they need. They then let the tumour grow in a mouse’s abdomen, where it releases a fluid rich in the antibody. Because monoclonal antibodies can now also be made using cell cultures, Britain and several other European countries have banned the mouse procedure (This Week, 15 November 1997, p 12). In 1997, the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, asked the US National Institutes of Health to enact a similar ban. The NIH refused, but asked the independent National Research Council in Washington DC to look into the matter. Its report, released last week, does not support a ban, although it says that cell cultures should become the routine method over the next few years. “To suddenly close off access to the use of mice would be too abrupt and cause a lot of groups to lose access to important monoclonal antibodies,” says committee chair Peter Ward of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. John McArdle, scientific adviser to the AAVS, says the report condemns more than a million mice each year to continued suffering. “It’s almost a guarantee,