I would like to study biology but....

civersen rczci at unix.ccc.nottingham.ac.uk
Mon Jan 31 09:55:15 EST 2000

On Fri, 28 Jan 2000, Geoff Crawford wrote:

> I agree that in immunology it is difficult to avoid the use of animals in
> the production of antibodies but can this be rationalised in some way.  For
> example, growing antibodies involves vaccination of the animal and removal
> of some blood from the animal at a later date.  For the rest of the time the
> animal may live a relatively comfortable life!

The antigen often makes the animal ill - therefore immune response to it.
The animal is also usually 'exsanguinated' i.e ALL the blood removed.

However I have managed to purse a career in cancer immunology (Biology O &
A levels, BSc (Hons) Applied Biology, PhD) without handling / disecting /
experimenting on a single whole animal alive or dead (we used abatoir
specimens of organs/blood, computer generated disection).  I currently use
peripheral blood from consenting patients, though this is a very difficult
route compared to using animals it has advantages when the final product
is aquired.  I do use commercial animal products eg fetal calf serum,
mouse monoclonals; there are ways round this (serum free medium) if you
are concerned about it to that degree but I would question the point of
pursuing a career in biology if that was the case.  It is actually quite
difficult these days to get a licence for an animal experiment and strict
criteria are employed.
C Iversen
Cancer Research Laboratories
University of Nottingham

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