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Exploring the Possibilities of ActualHCA: Part Two
“This is a technological breakthrough. This data collection wasn’t possible before now.” Dr Will Redfern, AstraZeneca
In our last blog post on this topic, we covered some of the possibilities that exist with the ActualHCA system as outlined by Dr Will Redfern, Associate Director of the Cardiovascular and CNS Translational Centre of Expertise at AstraZeneca. Dr Redfern played a key role in creating the system, so he has some uniquely useful insights to share. In this post, we will continue to discuss Dr Redfern’s insights and go into more detail on the functions offered by the ActualHCA system.
What if you could detect convulsions and other “abnormal” behaviours?
Whether you are observing the effects of drugs or the progress of neurodegenerative conditions, behavioural data and indications of central nervous system symptoms are crucial. However, this information is difficult to obtain if your only hope of collecting data is standing there and waiting for a rodent to display a symptom.
The ActualHCA system incorporates behavioural recognition software which is being “trained” by the team at AstraZeneca to pick up on unusual behaviour. Actions like grooming, rearing, and eating are all detected and registered on the system. As time goes on, more and more annotations in terms of both behavioural observations and autonomic effects are being added to the software.
This development is great news for the process of pre-clinical testing. It also allows for considerable improvement in rodent welfare if seizures are picked up the very first time they happen, not after several incidences when the rodent’s health is in severe decline.
What if you could do all this without having to modify the home cage?
One of the biggest drawbacks in innovating around experimental design is dealing with logistical concerns, particularly in smaller laboratory environments. Fortunately, installation of the ActualHCA system does not require modification standard housing cages. The system is accommodated by a standard-size individually-ventilated cage rack that is easily wheeled around. It isn’t easy to remove the system from a rack, but you can easily remove the cages themselves and swap them around. There are also desktop HCA models available if the working environment does not accommodate an IVC rack.