Refers to the introduction of vaccine-attenuated or killed micro-organisms (bacteria or viruses) – into the body for the purpose of inducing protective immunity against infectious diseases. Conventional prophylactic vaccines aim at stopping people becoming infected. Therapeutic vaccines are products that stimulate the immune system of people with chronic infection to eliminate the virus from their bodies. Vaccine preparations can be natural, synthetic or derived by recombinant DNA technology.
Stem cells are unspecialized “master” cells that differ from other kinds of cells in the human body in that they have a unique capacity to multiply and differentiate into many types of specialized cells and tissues. Stem cells exist at all stages of human development from early embryos to fetuses to adults. There are three types of stem cells: embryonic, fetal and adult. While the use of adult stem cells is well accepted and non-controversial, research into embryonic and fetal stem cells raises a number of ethical questions.
Replacement refers to methods, which avoid or replace the use of animals in areas where animals would otherwise have been used.
Refinement refers to improvements to housing and care and procedures, which minimise actual or potential pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and/or improve animal welfare in situations where the use of animals is unavoidable. Refinement also refers to the lifetime experience of the animal. There is evidence that refinement not only benefits animals, but also improves the quality of research findings.
Reduction refers to methods which minimise animal use and enable researchers to obtain comparable levels of information from fewer animals or to obtain more information from the same number of animals, thereby reducing future use of animals.
It means any use, invasive or non-invasive, of an animal for experimental or other scientific purposes, with known or unknown outcome, or education purposes, which may cause the animal a level of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm equivalent to, or higher than, that caused by the introduction of a needle in accordance with good veterinary practice.
Any animal that lacks a vertebral column or backbone. More than 90% of living animals are invertebrates. Worldwide in distribution, they range in size from minute protozoans to giant squids. Apart from the absence of a vertebral column, invertebrates have little in common. They are generally soft-bodied and have an external skeleton for muscle attachment and protection. They include the protozoans, annelids, cnidarians, echinoderms, flatworms, nematodes, mollusks, and arthropods.
The concept of microdosing involves the use of extremely low, non-pharmacologically active doses of a drug to define the pharmacokinetic profile of the medication in humans. By definition, microdosing means the use of ‘less than 1/100th of the dose calculated to yield a pharmacological effect of the test substance to a maximum dose of <100 micrograms’ (European Medicines Agency paper).
It is the set of chemical reactions that happen in living organisms to maintain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories. Catabolism breaks down organic matter, for example to harvest energy in cellular respiration. Anabolism uses energy to construct components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acids.
Biomedical research (or experimental medicine), in general is known as medical research, and is basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the body of knowledge in the field of medicine.
Biomedical research comprises of three main categories:
- The scientific investigation required to understand the underlying life processes which affect disease and human well-being, including such areas as cellular and molecular bases of diseases, genetics, immunology.
- The study of specific diseases and conditions (mental or physical), including detection, cause, prophylaxis, treatment and rehabilitation of persons.
- The design of methods, drugs and devices used to diagnose, support and maintain the individual during and after treatment for specific diseases or conditions.
A full list of such activities includes clinical trials and laboratory investigations, the study of exposure to environmental agents and various behavioural hazards.