Experiments with drugs and therapy

Research animal breeding units get better working conditions

Animal experiments are useful for that researchers to test future therapeutic techniques and medications. For this reason, the research animal breeding units of the research centers where the guinea pigs are reared and maintained were also blessed with funding from the Infrastructure Program. “Before, all of the procedures with animals were done in the laboratories and the smell was unbearable. We operated on mice in the middle of the hall, on an improvised table and in a location where dozens of people passed through”, recalls the researcher Helena Bonciani Nader, coordinator of the National Pharmacology Institute (Infar), of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), which received close to R$ 860,000.00.

In the Animal Experimentation Laboratory of Infar, established with the resources from the Infra program, the breeding unit is being used for the study of hepatitis metabolism, through the investigation of the action of kallikreins, enzymes involved in the processes of inflammation and coagulation, afterwards purified in the liver. Other research lines have been benefited such as the study of medicinal plants, the action of various drugs and the proteins involved in the process of thrombosis. “We redesigned the space to make way for the breeding unit, and we bought shelves and metabolic cages and the equipment necessary to isolate the various lineages of the animals” explains Helena. The greater part of the research required rodents, especially rats and mice.

Traumas and hypertension
Part of the nearly R$ 720,000.00 destined by FAPESP to research at the Heart Institute (Incor), of the Hospital das Clínicas of USP (HC), was used in purchase a breeding unit to be used by research groups studying shock, hypertension, physical conditioning, vascular and atherosclerosis biology and thorax surgery. “Now Incor can say that it has a research animal breeding unit in the standard of a research center”, comments Dr. Maurício da Rocha e Silva, chief of the Applied Physiology Service and responsible for the running of the breeding unit.

As well as the advantages for the hypertension unit and for other study groups, the breeding unit brought benefits to the thematic project of professor Maurício da Rocha and Silva, who works with the physiopathology of circulation shock. “I am studying the serious hemorrhages caused by traumas, to discover how they evolve and what the initial procedures that must be taken are”, he explains. The traumas with hemorrhages are mainly caused by car accidents and criminal injuries. All of the experiments are done on dogs and rats.

The campus of Unesp in Araraquara renovated at least two of its research animal breeding units directed towards medical research, located in the departments of Biological Sciences and Natural Active Origins and Toxicology, of the Pharmaceutical Sciences School. The school received around R$ 2.13 million from the Infra program.

The first research animal breeding unit came under the responsibility of professor Deise Pasetto Falcão and attended to the needs of 12 researchers from the Biological Sciences department, which included the segments of microbiology, immunology, public health and parasitology. Deise is studying an intestinal pathogen bacterium, the Yersinia sp, and is preparing anti-serums in rabbits for study. “We didn’t have research animal breeding units. The animals remained in the laboratories and in the vicinity of the faculty, in precarious conditions and with a high risk of contamination” says the professor.

Professor Georgino Honorato de Oliveira, of the Natural Active Origins and Toxicology, used the money for the construction of a research animal breeding unit to attend to the needs of the laboratories of pharmacology, pharmacognosis, toxicology and botany. This breeding unit has a monitoring room with video camera for behavior research. “The new breeding unit made it possible to increase the number of research studies and to improve them in quality. We also opened new lines of research, such as work on neurotoxicity to pestilence, using experiments on chickens.” he says.

Ribeirão Preto
In the Molecular, Pathogenic Bioagents and Cellular Biology Department of the Medical School of USP in Ribeirão Preto, professor Eduardo Miguel Laicine invested the funds from the Infra program in the total renovation nd modernization of a research animal breeding unit for normal work and experimentation. “All of the projects in the department make use of the breeding unit. Since the renovation we have already published 19 scientific papers, 18 of them abroad. This impact shows the increase in quality which we have had.”

The research which he coordinates, on the biology of glycoprotein components of the eye, (both vitreous and aqueous) and of the smooth muscular system of the choroid of the eye, is being carried out on rabbits. “This study may be helpful in cornea transplants and in bringing new information on the alterations of the eye caused by the disease, such as diabetes” he explains. Another study developed at the breeding unit is looking into the behavior changes in fear and defense of rats with injuries to their central nervous system (SNC).

For Reginaldo Ceneviva, a professor at the Surgery and Anatomy Department, the new breeding unit has brought unmeasurable support to the research of the 40 menbers of the faculty, and has been helpful to the doctors at the HC. “Professors from the departments of clinical medicine, orthopedics, gynecology, otorhinolaryngology and ophthalmology also use the animals of the breeding unit.”

There the guinea pigs are being used for research linked to cardiovascular illnesses such as atherosclerosis, organ transplants, hepatic working, and various types of tumors. The Pharmaceutical Sciences School and the Chemistry Institute of

USP, in the capital of the state, now also have a larger and more modern breeding unit which is used in experiments. One of the successes is the study for the production of medicines at the Foundation for Popular Medicines (Furp), which distributes medicines to the Public Health network, carried out by researchers from the Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty.