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Issue 03

Summer 2019

Unique techniques reducing animal experiments

How technician Nicola De Vivo uses caesium to help steer away from the use of animal cells
Vision Spotlight Unique techniques reducing animal experiments

Reducing the use of animals in scientific experiments is the driving force behind my work. 

The FRAME Alternatives Laboratory is supported by the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) charity and all our experiments use human tissue. This has been donated by patients who have had surgery and given consent for any tissues removed to be used for scientific purposes.

We use the cells derived from these tissues to produce models of human organs, which behave and respond in the way they would in the body. These can then be used to examine the effects of drugs, providing results that are much more clinically relevant than studies carried out on animal cells and tissues. Caesium is one of the key elements used in our work to extract DNA from cells. Cells are broken open and run through a gradient of caesium chloride before the solution is then studied under a UV light. Pure DNA can then be seen and extracted via a needle.

Working towards the replacement of animals with ethically donated human tissue is both rewarding and inspiring.
Nicola De Vivo

The FRAME lab is home to a wide variety of projects and researchers. We have students funded by Unilever, GSK and other industrial sponsors, as well as the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. 

Working towards the replacement of animals with ethically donated human tissue is both rewarding and inspiring. It’s great to be a part of something so big and to know that we are all working together for the same goals.

Nicola De Vivo

Nicola De Vivo is a Research Technician in the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory, School of Life Sciences.

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