Education and research using experimental pigs in a medical school


Medium-sized animals such as miniature pigs are considered to be important for education and training in medical schools to master the skills required in surgical treatment. Much still remains to be done to establish total management for animal experiments using pigs. Improvement of the effective utilization of pigs is also required from the economical and ethical points of view. We have been providing a support system at a facility for experimental animals in a medical school for 3 years, and herein we introduce our personal experiments as an instructional lecture. Before starting surgical training using live pigs, sufficient education concerning animal ethics and dry laboratory training was completed. Four kinds of miniature pigs have been used as experimental animals; porcine rearing pens have been improved and a postoperative care system has been implemented. Moreover, staff at the center offer a preoperative service of anesthesia for surgical education, training, and research. Chronic experiments have increased to represent 35% and 48% of experiments using pigs in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Experimental pigs have undergone secondary use after being killed to reduce the number of animals used in experiments. Sharing and reuse have allowed effective use of miniature pig tissues and cells for research, and have reduced the number of animals used. We recommend that researchers consider use of our total systems because they can improve the quality of medical education and research and facilitate effective use of tissues and cells by sharing and reuse among different departments.


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