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Stem cell study could reduce animals used in research
The stem cell study could curb the need for tissue obtained from animals.
Researchers aim to generate a continuous supply of pig blood cells in the laboratory.

A new method of generating pig blood cells in the laboratory, to help limit the number of animals used in research, is being developed by scientists at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute.

Researchers say their study aims to better understand techniques for generating white blood cells (macrophages) from pig stem cells in the lab. The research is being supported by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

The blood cells will be used to test vaccines and treatments for highly contagious diseases, including African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV).

Dr Tom Burdon from the Roslin Institute, said: “The ability to generate a continuous supply of pig blood cells from stem cells in the lab would be a valuable tool in helping to develop vaccines against devastating livestock diseases, with significantly reduced need for tissue from animals.”

Working with the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the APHA, researchers seek to further understanding of how specific cells are derived efficiently from stem cells.

Their study will explore how white blood cells develop from pig stem cells, to identify key stages as they develop into blood cells. They hope to devise a method of arresting cell development, and for controlling the final stage of differentiation into white blood cells.

Researchers believe the technique has the potential to provide a large-scale, continuous supply of blood cells for the testing and development of therapies. It could, thereby, curb the need for tissue obtained from animals.

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Tickets on sale for horse welfare conference

News Story 1
 Tickets are now on sale for the 'Welfare and Performance of the Ridden Horse' conference, due to take place at Nottingham University on Saturday, 11 December 2021.

World-renowned researchers, including Prof. Hilary Clayton and Dr Sue Dyson, will deliver the latest research updates. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions throughout the day, interactive polls and a fun evening of entertainment.

Organisers say that in the event of further coronavirus restrictions, day tickets will be transferred to livestream tickets. For more information about the conference and to book your place, click here.  

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News Shorts
SRUC to host virtual parasitology event for vet practices

Veterinary practices across the UK are being invited to an online CPD event hosted by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC). The event will include a 30-minute discussion on parasitology by Professor Neil Foster, head of the department of veterinary and animal science in SRUC's North Faculty.

The event takes place via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, 16 September (6-7 pm). Certificates of CPD attendance will be provided, and a questionnaire will be distributed following the event with ideas for future events and courses. Click here for more information and to book a place.