New Biomed Research Centre Opened24 June 2013
SPAIN – Scientists working at a new biomedical research centre – Specific Pig- are working on a pig breeding programme to develop smaller pigs to reduce the costs of their animal testing programmes.
When operational, the centre, from it based at El Prat de Llobregat, will test medicines and other products involved in human health by using pigs as a model to simulate the effects of medicinal materials on consumers, due to their similarity with humans.
The ‘pig model’ is used to evaluate a wide range of biomedical areas including; toxicology studies, pharmacokinetics, disease models, new surgical techniques and developing new feeds.
One goal at the centre is to create a miniature 35 kg pig which can populate the centre, as opposed to conventional 200kg animals. By doing so, the costs of running the centre are hoped to plummet as money is saved on labour, management, feed and space whilst maintaining the advantage of having pigs to test on.
Specific Pig ltd. has been selective breeding for smaller pigs in a unique and pioneering experiment. The project is group funded by multi-genetic insemination company, Semen Cordon, Bioemprèn Ltd and the Institute for Agriculture and Food Research (IRTA) and was officially opened by the Regional Agriculture Minister for Catalonia, Josep M Pelegri.
Initial funding has been secured and the centre will be fully operational. However, scientists aim to expand and Specific Pig has announced a second round of financing which is hoped will broaden the scope of the centre.