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Why is ShARM required?

ShARM is a facility which aims to distribute surplus tissues to ensure that such wastage of resources is reduced. Our aim is to ensure that every aged mouse is used to its maximum research capacity.

We currently have an increasingly ageing population, and subequently the incidence of age-related diseases is rising. Research into ageing and age-related diseases is thesefore essential to enable people to remain healthier for longer.

Research into ageing can involve mice, as they are biologically very similar to humans. In fact, mice and humans share more than 97% of their DNA, meaning that mice also experience many human diseases and have similar ageing processes. Breeding and rearing mice requires specialist facilities and can be extremely expensive, particularly for research into ageing, which requires mice to be kept for up to two years. 

We recognised that researchers who access aged colonies commonly only use a small number and discard surplus tissue, but these unwanted tissues could easily be used if they were available to other researchers. By bringing together the collective resources, knowledge and experience of researchers, we seek to maximum efficiency to create a more ethical and economical working practice.

In this way, we assist in the reduction and refinement of animal use in research, an important agenda directed by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3R’s)

This will help researchers maintain a high level of research output in a climate of financial difficulty, whilst reducing the number of animals used in research.