We have all the required ethical approvals to obtain peripheral blood from normal human volunteers for our experiments. For our animal research, we have a current UK home office licence (P79B6F297) and ethical approval for our experiments in Cape Town (012/031).
Our groups are very experienced in animal experimentation and in vigorous implementation of the three “R’s”. Thus wherever possible we Replace animal usage, for example through the use of cell lines. In vivo experimentation is required, however, for the study of immunological function, as experiments with cultured cells cannot recreate the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions that play such an important role in the regulation of immunity in vivo. This project has to be conducted in mice, as their immune systems are much more complex than those seen in insects, worms, and fish.
Hence, studying rudimentary immune systems will not lead to a sufficient increase in our understanding of the regulation of the immune system in health and disease. The murine system is most appropriate for our studies, as all required immunological reagents are readily available for this species, including gene-deficient animals. In vivo experimental techniques will be Refined as much as possible, such as through the use of multiple readouts from individual experimental animals, and we will strive to Reduce our animal numbers to the minimum consistent with obtaining significant experimental results (see Justification of Resources for Power calculations). We also adhere to the ARRIVE guidelines in our publications, to ensure that the data from our animal experiments can be fully evaluated and widely utilised.