2019 CRACK IT challenges: Sharp and to the Point
To develop a device that enables injections in mice without losing material to dead space, allows needles to be changed quickly and safely between animals to ensure sharpness and sterility, and which prevents cross-contamination between animals. This must be competitively priced to facilitate broad uptake across the bioscience sector.
Up to one year
Up to £100k
AstraZeneca, GSK, The Royal Veterinary College London, The University of Sheffield
Hypodermic needles are used throughout medical research involving animals for injecting substances (e.g. via intravenous, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal or intramuscular routes) or for collecting blood samples. Most needles used to administer material parenterally in animals are designed and sold as single-use disposable needles.
Where needles are re-used, it is commonly done to reduce time and cost because of the involvement of large numbers of mice and/or test material. Two blogs published on the NC3Rs website have focused on the topic of re-using hypodermic needles in day-to-day practice and highlight the associated scientific and welfare concerns 1,2.
The re-use of needles results in a loss of sterility and can increase the risk of infection and disease transmission between individual animals and between cages. Re-use also risks dulling of the needle, potentially increasing the pain and discomfort associated with subsequent injections. These concerns create confounding and unnecessary variables which can impact the quality of scientific data collected.
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