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Royal Holloway leads the way in replacing animals to research Bipolar disorder

Posted on 20/04/2012

Dictyostelium is used in this research project to further understand how current Bipolar disorder treatments work

Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, are working to further understand and treat Bipolar disorder while developing methods to reduce the number of animals used in research.

Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a neuropsychiatric disorder with a devastating effect on individuals, causing a recently estimated annual UK cost of £4.59 billion.

There is a real need for the development of a new, more effective and safer treatment but the current tools available to the scientific community to study the disorder require animal testing.

Dr Robin Williams and his team will be using social amoeba, Dictyostelium, which are non-animal cells grown in the laboratory, to identify new methods to study the disease and ultimately discover better treatments with fewer side effects than experienced with the current drugs. Dr Williams says: "This project reflects increasing social awareness of the ethical use of animals in research and provides an excellent example of how successful research can be done without such testing."

The innovative and humane research project is the latest addition to a portfolio of medical research funded by The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT), a charity that does not harm animals and has helped treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease and mental health disorders.

Kailah Eglington, Chief executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust, said: “We urge all scientists to think about how they can help shape a more effective and humane future for medical research by using non-animal methods in their work.”


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