Scientist at AstraZeneca, one of the first DVC® users, describes the benefits of this revolutionary new technology.
Tecniplast has recently introduced the DVC®, the ﬁrst digital ventilated cage system.
The design and development of DVC® was driven by two main targets: improve research quality and streamline facility management.
These two goals were even more ambitious since, in order to effectively promote a culture of care, we wanted to collect information and data directly from the home cage, without stressing the animals.
Judit, you have had the opportunity to test the DVC® technology recently; what is your first impression of the system? Do you believe Tecniplast reached the 2 goals?
Our ﬁrst impression of the DVC® system was extremely positive. In terms of facility management, it simpliﬁes husbandry practices by avoiding unnecessary bedding changes, thus improving the availability of resources for other activities. The alerts for low food or no presence of water bottles minimizes the risk of mistakes in husbandry practises.
DVC® technology provides a 24/7 monitoring of animal movement within the familiar home cage allowing a better understanding of animal behaviour and allowing a closer monitoring of animal welfare if anomalies in behaviour are detected. The possibilities that the technology provides are vast and more research needs to be done to fully exploit those capabilities. The advantages in ﬁelds focused in animal locomotion are clear as it allows for an undisturbed and constant monitoring, but I think there are more areas to explore where continuous monitoring of animal movement in the home cage can be beneﬁcial. Based on our experience, Tecniplast has reached their two goals, and the impact of improving research quality will increase as more users work with the system and we have a better understanding of natural animal behaviour and how our disease models can alter it.
Could you list for our readers the most important benefits you think DVC® can offer to users, animals and research?
- Improved animal husbandry practices and better use of resources.
- Better animal welfare monitoring.
- Further understanding of natural animal behaviour.
- Improved characterization of disease models and impact of drugs in development.
- Better data quality and reproducibility.
In which typology of experiments or research do you see a faster adoption of the DVC® technology and why?
The capability of monitoring animal movement within the home cage environment has a clear impact in any research or experiments that get an insight from animal locomotion.
It is clear the impact it can have in ﬁelds such as neuroscience, but as we further explore other types of research, we will ﬁnd other areas where monitoring locomotion can give a better understanding of the disease of interest, how drugs in development affect disease progression and animal welfare.
Expected results have been confirmed by the use of the system in terms of:
Obtaining new insights: allows monitoring of spontaneous animal activity within the familiar home environment avoiding exposing the animals to novel environments that would impact animal behaviour. This will enhance the current knowledge in animal behaviour and how this is affected by diseases and treatment.
Increase study sensitivity and reproducibility: by monitoring during the night phase, when mice are most active and without the impact of human presence, that could alter the data collected and have a detrimental effect in the reproducibility within facilities.
Higher availability of data throughout: constant monitoring of animal movement allows for longer evaluation of disease impact in animal behaviour. Traditional tests monitor the animal for a set period of time that might not be the ideal for the phenotype being evaluated. Having the ability to monitor animals 24/7 will give a better understanding of our disease models in a less restrictive way. More robust data: DVC® technology allows for a subject - independent observation, avoiding the bias inherent in human observation.
Where do you see the DVC® technology 10 years from now?
I foresee individual animal movement tracking, allowing a better assessment of animal health and monitoring of diseases, treatment effects, etc. up to an individual level.
Additional features can be added to current capabilities in the future, food and water consumption and monitoring of other animal physiological features such as temperature, respiratory rate, heartbeat, etc. that in conjunction with animal movement could provide a complete assessment of animal health and behavior, beneﬁting scientiﬁc research and improving the welfare of the animals housed in our facilities.
GUIDO GOTTARDO – PRODUCT MANAGER DIGILAB