Optimizing Methods of Experimental Data Collection in Laboratory Animal Facilities

Lewis B. Kinter*, David K. Johnson & Nancy Fetrow
Nycomed Amersham Inc. and *Astra Merck Inc., Wayne, PA, USA

New opportunities for optimizing methods of experimental data collection arise from new trends in the design of research animal facilities. Traditionally, laboratory animal housing facilities focus their design to meet the care, comfort, housing, and health of the animals. New trends of design combine the above features with the added features and functionalities for incorporating in-vivo laboratories within the research animal facility envelope. New challenges have emerged from the proliferation of computer assisted data collection programs, sophisticated research equipment, and technologies. In essence, the research animal envelope must be 'electronically friendly', in addition to meeting the sensitive environmental needs of a variety of animal species. Identifying conflicts and solutions related to these optimized data collection systems and assuring the optimal welfare of the animals are critical. In-life collection of data for direct access to computers is now common. Telemetry studies require environments conducive to radio frequency transmissions as well as strategically placed conduits for computer cables and electrical lines. These data collection technologies must be validated and maintained to meet GLP compliance. Aspects for consideration include a review of research equipment needs, computer requirements, telemetry systems, communication ports, internal windows, one-way mirrors, multi-purpose research laboratories, surgical suites, dual lighting, temperature and humidity controls, and creative scheduling of research animal needs and studies.
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