Client name . London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
Sector . Medical / Charity
Summary comment . Dr. Taija Makinen, Group Leader, Lymphatic Development Laboratory
"This database has truly revolutionised our work. Compared to the other animal management systems I have seen and used previously, this is by far the most user-friendly and complete. Having used this system for the past year, I cannot see how we managed without it!"
London Research Institute,
Cancer Research UK
FileMaker Streamlines Cancer Research
Cancer Research UK is the country's leading independent organisation dedicated to cancer research. With an annual scientific budget of well over £300 million, the charity supports world-class research by 4,500 scientists, doctors and nurses at 35 hospitals, institutes and universities across the country. The London Research Institute (LRI) specialises in understanding how healthy cells turn into cancers.
The use of laboratory mice in the LRI's research helps scientists understand the biology of cancer and discover drugs used to treat and prevent development of the disease. All work is carried out under project licences issued by the UK Government and is closely monitored by Home Office inspectors. The LRI works hard to achieve the 3Rs, as set out by The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research. The 3Rs is essentially a commitment to replace the use of animals where possible, reduce the number used and refine procedures to minimise suffering. The key to meeting this challenge is efficient management of the breeding and research programmes.
The LRI needed a way to track mice from breeding through their entire lifespan. They needed to track each animal's parentage, users, locations and litters, facilitate movement between sites and support communication between researchers and animal technicians. Commercially available solutions were expensive and didn't fully meet the LRI's needs. The LRI's in-house FileMaker developer, Kim Rowan, agreed to develop a custom solution. In 2008 a pilot project was launched and by July 2009 the full system was in place.
- The system is user-friendly, intuitive and has a dyslexia-friendly user interface.
- Automatic document and label generation has reduced the administrative workload associated with litter weaning from 12 to just 4 hours per week per unit. The time saved equates to one full working day.
- Data can now be accessed from remote locations so scientists need no longer travel to their different units to review mice colonies.
- The number of animals produced for research is kept to an absolute minimum.
- Scientists and technicians alike can now easily monitor animal health and control animal production in a live environment.
- A wide range of reporting functions generate accurate annual statistical reports as required by Home Office regulations.
- The LRI is currently looking at ways to raise funds by making the FileMaker solution commercially available.