SEARCHBreast: a new resource to locate and share surplus archival material from breast cancer animal models to help address the 3Rs

Karen Blyth, Phil Carter, Bethny Morrissey, Claude Chelala, Louise Jones, Ingunn Holen, Valerie Speirs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Animal models have contributed to our understanding of breast cancer, with publication of results in high-impact journals almost invariably requiring extensive in vivo experimentation. As such, many laboratories hold large collections of surplus animal material, with only a fraction being used in publications relating to the original projects. Despite being developed at considerable cost, this material is an invisible and hence an underutilised resource, which often ends up being discarded. Within the breast cancer research community there is both a need and desire to make this valuable material available for researchers. Lack of a coordinated system for visualisation and localisation of this has prevented progress. To fulfil this unmet need, we have developed a novel initiative called Sharing Experimental Animal Resources: Coordinating Holdings-Breast (SEARCHBreast) which facilitates sharing of archival tissue between researchers on a collaborative basis and, de facto will reduce overall usage of animal models in breast cancer research. A secure searchable database has been developed where researchers can find, share, or upload materials related to animal models of breast cancer, including genetic and transplant models. SEARCHBreast is a virtual compendium where the physical material remains with the original laboratory. A bioanalysis pipeline is being developed for the analysis of transcriptomics data associated with mouse models, allowing comparative study with human and cell line data. Additionally, SEARCHBreast is committed to promoting the use of humanised breast tissue models as replacement alternatives to animals. Access to this unique resource is freely available to all academic researchers following registration at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-452
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank all workshop participants and SEARCHBreast members for helping shape the SEARCHBreast resource and for using this to deposit their models. SEARCHBreast was developed by an Infrastructure for Impact Award from NC3Rs
(Grant Ref: NC/L001004/1)


  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Research Design
  • Tissue Banks
  • Dataset
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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