Treating pigs: Balancing standardisation and individual treatments in translational neonatology research
- 94 Downloads
This paper explores how animal modelling is negotiated and practised in the field of translational neonatology research in Denmark. Based on ethnography from a biomedical research centre, NEOMUNE, in which veterinary and medical scientists worked on developing a ‘preterm pig brain model’, we examine how they strived to balance traditional scientific norms of standardisation against clinical researchers’ requests for clinical care in the modelling practice. We develop the notion of ‘patientising’ to capture how the research piglets are made to model not only the biological consequences of prematurity, but also the suffering of the human patient entitled to individual care. Based on this ethnographic fieldwork we argue that the demand for clinical relevance in translational research highlights the animal laboratory as also being a “moral laboratory” (Mattingly, 2014). In seeking to align research piglets and human infants, the researchers engage closely interdependent scientific and moral uncertainties as they work out the proper relations between the suffering of the research animal and the health of the human infant.
Keywordstranslational research animal models neonatology multispecies-ethnography suffering moral reasoning
First we want to thank the researchers and animal technicians in NEOMUNE research centre for welcoming and including us in their daily work. We thank them for generously taking the time to engage in conversations and interviews and for commenting on our work. We are grateful to Barbara Prainsack and Carrie Friese for their valuable comments and suggestions to earlier versions of this article. Many thanks go to the Strategic Research Council for financial support. A final thank you goes to Laura E. Navne, Iben M. Gjødsbøl and Lene Koch for continuous inspiration and support. The authors do not have any competing intellectual or financial interests in the research detailed in the manuscript.
- Agamben, G. (1998) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, D.C. et al (2009) A novel approach to the use of animals in studies of pain: Validation of the canine brief pain inventory in canine bone cancer. Pain Medicine 10(1): 133–142, September 24. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2008.00513.x.
- Callon, M. et al (2009) Acting in An Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Chrulew, M. (2013) Preventing and giving death at the zoo: Heini Hediger’s ‘Death due to behaviour’ . In: J. Johnson and F. Probyn-Rapsey (eds.) Animal Death. Sydney: Sydney University Press, pp. 219–238.Google Scholar
- Creager, A.N.H. (2002) The Life of a Virus: Tobacco Mosaic Virus as an Experimental Model, 1930–1965. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Collins English Dictionary 9th Edition 2007, Harper Collins Publishers, Glasgow C64 2QT.Google Scholar
- Curry, S.H. (2008) Translational science: past, present, and future. BioTechniques 44(2): ii–viii, February, 2008. doi: 10.2144/000112749.
- Davies, G. (2012a) What is a humanized mouse? Remaking the species and spaces of translational medicine. Body & Society 18(3-4): 126–155, August, 2012. doi: 10.1177/1357034X12446378.
- Denayer, T. et al (2014) Animal models in translational medicine: Validation and prediction. New Horizons in Translational Medicine 2(1): 5–11, September, 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.nhtm.2014.08.001.
- Despret, V. (2004) The body we care for: Figures of anthropo-zoo-genesis. Body & Society 10(2-3): 111–134, June, 2004. doi: 10.1177/1357034X04042938.
- Druglitrø, T. (2016) ‘Care and tinkering in the animal house: Conditioning monkeys for poliomyelitis research and public health work. In: K. Bjørkdahl and T. Druglitrø (eds.) Animal Housing and Human-Animal Relations: Politics, Practices and Infrastructures. London and New York: Routledge Animal Studies Series (ed. Henry Buller).Google Scholar
- Esposito, R. (2008) Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- European Parliament. (2010) Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purposes. Google Scholar
- Festing, M.F.W. and Lutz, C. (2011) Laboratory animal genetics and genetic quality control. In: J. Hau and S.J. Schapiro (eds.) Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science. Volume 1. Essential Principles and Practices. Boca Raton: CRC press, pp. 209–250.Google Scholar
- Friese, C. (2013) Realizing potential in translational medicine. Current Anthropology 54(S7): S129–S138, October, 2013; doi: 10.1086/670805.
- Friese, C. and Clarke, A. (2012) Transposing bodies of knowledge and technique: Animal models at work in reproductive sciences. Social Studies of Science 42(1): 31–52, February, 2012. doi: 10.1177/0306312711429995.
- Guillen, J. et al (2011) Assessment of animal care and use programs and facilities. In: J. Hau and S.J. Schapiro (eds.) Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science. Third Edit Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 65–80.Google Scholar
- Haraway, D.J. (2008) When Species Meet. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Harrington, J. (2013) A Predicament: Animal models and human tissue in medical research. Configurations 21(2): 183–200, Spring 2013. doi: 10.1353/con.2013.0014.
- Holmberg, T. (2011) Mortal love: Care practices in animal experimentation. Feminist Theory 12(2):147–163, August, 2011. doi: 10.1177/1464700111404206.
- Hurst, J.L. and West, R.S. (2010) Taming anxiety in laboratory mice. Nature Methods 7(10): 825–826, September 12, 2010. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1500.
- Jensen, M.L., Sangild, P.T., Lykke, M., Schmidt, M., Boye, M., Jensen, B.B. and Thymann, T. (2013) Similar efficacy of human banked milk and bovine colostrum to decrease incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm piglets. American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 305(1): R4–R12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Johnston, N.A. and Nevalainen, T. (2011) Impact of the biotic and abiotic environment on animal experiments. In: J. Hau and S.J. Schapiro (eds.) Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science. Third Boca Raton: CRC press, pp. 343–368.Google Scholar
- Leonelli, S. (2012) When humans are the exception: Cross-species databases at the interface of biological and clinical research. Social Studies of Science 42(2): 214–236, February 22, 2012. doi: 10.1177/0306312711436265.
- Lewis, J., Atkinson, P., Harrington, J., Featherstone, K. (2013) Representation and practical accomplishment in the laboratory: When is an animal model good enough? Sociology 47(4): 776–792, December 12, 2012. doi: 10.1177/0038038512457276.
- Lynch, M.E. (1988) Sacrifice and the transformation of the animal body into a scientific object: Laboratory culture and ritual practice in the neurosciences. Social Studies of Science 18: 265–289.Google Scholar
- Mbembe, A. and Meintjes, L. (Trans) (2003) Necropolitics. Public Culture. 15(1): 11–40.Google Scholar
- Michael, M. et al (2005) Temporality and prudence: On stem cells as ‘phronesic things’. Configurations: 373–394. doi: 10.1353/con.2007.0024.
- Mol, A. (2008) The Logic of Care Health and the Problem of Patient Choice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Muhlhausler, B.S. et al (2013) Whole animal experiments should be more like human randomized controlled trials. PLoS Biology 11(2): 1–6, February 12, 2013. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001481.
- Nelson, N. (2015) Model homes for model organisms: Intersections of animal welfare and behavioral neuroscience around the environment of the laboratory mouse. BioSocieties: 1–21, June 8, 2015. doi: 10.1057/biosoc.2015.19.
- Neu, J. and Walker, W.A. (2011) Necrotizing enterocolitis. New England Journal of Medicine 364(3): 255–264, April 17, 2013. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1005408.
- Puig de la Bellacasa, M.P. (2011) Matters of care in technoscience: assembling neglected things. Social studies of science 41(1):85–106, December 7, 2010. doi: 10.1177/0306312710380301.
- Rader, K. (2004) Making Mice: Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900–1955. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Russell, W.M.S. and Burch, R.L. (1959) The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Methuen, London.Google Scholar
- Sangild, P.T. et al (2006) Diet- and colonization-dependent intestinal dysfunction predisposes to necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm pigs. Gastroenterology 130(6): 1776–1792, May, 2006. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2006.02.026.
- Sharp, L.A. (2013) The Transplant Imaginary: Mechanical Hearts, Animal Parts, and Moral Thinking in Highly Experimental Science. Berkely and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Stoy, A.C.F., Heegaard, P.M., Thymann, T., Bjerre, M., Skovgaard, K., Boye, M., et al (2014) Bovine colostrum improves intestinal function following formula-induced gut inflammation in preterm pigs. Clinical Nutrition 33(2): 322–329.Google Scholar
- Svendsen, M.N., Gjødsbøl, I.M., Dam, M.S., and Navne, L.E. (2017) Humanity at the edge: The moral laboratory of feeding precarious lives. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1007/s11013-017-9519-x.
- Thompson, C. (2013) Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar