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3Rs star wins the 2018 Andrew Blake Tribute Award

11 December 2017

Most of our research does not involve animals but some animal research is essential if we are to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Our animal technicians work hard to ensure that the animals receive the highest standard of care. So we are delighted to announce that Senior Scientific Officer Melanie Galvin is to be honoured with the Andrew Blake Tribute Award for 2018. The award, given by the Institute of Animal Technology and sponsored by The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, recognises animal technicians throughout the UK and their contributions to improving laboratory animal welfare.

Mel has made a significant impact on animal welfare by targeting all 3 of the 3Rs' principles (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animals). She has reduced the number of mice required as donor and recipient animals for large scale efficacy studies, refined tumour passage by eliminating invasive surgery, and hopes that the ex vivo growth of these disaggregated cells could replace in vivo studies in the future. It is vital that good welfare practices and improvements carried out by technicians are widely disseminated and Mel will present her valuable work at the IAT Congress in March 2018, where she will be presented with a glass trophy and £250 award.

About the award, Mel says: “As animal welfare is my passion, it is a great honour to be recognised for the work we are doing to not only refine the procedures we carry out, but to reduce the number of animals used in our research.”

The Andrew Blake Tribute Award commemorates the work and life of Andrew Blake, who suffered from Friedrich’s ataxia, a hereditary condition described as one of the “worst of neurological diseases”. Andrew died in May 2002 aged 39. Andrew was passionate about the need to support scientists in their work and his commitment to speaking out against animal rights activists took up much of the last ten years of his life. He died shortly before he was to collect his MBE.