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SEARCHBreast - Free - Online Database Shares Excess Tissue Samples to Aid Breast Cancer Research


SEARCHBreastExperimental validation is often required for animal models to be published in popular biomedical research journals. These models make well-recognized contributions, but getting validation is expensive. Substantial amounts of tissue samples are also left over after animal studies and essentially go to waste. The Sharing Experimental Animal Resources, Coordinating Holdings (SEARCH) framework was created to change this.

The Goals of SEARCH

The SEARCH framework was developed after a survey of various biomedical scientists in the United Kingdom showed a strong longing for leftover animal models to become available to the wider research community. The main goal of SEARCH is to make this leftover animal material more accessible to scientists, making biomedical research cheaper and faster. The framework also aims to reduce the amount of animals used for research purposes.

By adopting the replacement, refinement and reduction model, researchers have more models to choose from when studying diseases. The hope is that this collaborative approach will change the design and delivery of future biomedical research.

About the SEARCHBreast Database

SEARCHBreast is a tissue prototype database that was established in 2014 through funding from NC3Rs, a scientific organization based in the United Kingdom. The system allows breast cancer researchers everywhere to share their in silico, in vitro and in vivo animal models so that other researchers can search for and use them.

This secure, web-based breast cancer tissue prototype database or similar models includes thousands of samples already. Also since 2014, more than 220 scientists from the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Australia have registered to use it. Some of the samples include cells, histological slides and tissue blocks from various animal models.

Benefits of Collaboration via SEARCHBreast

The benefits of SEARCHBreast are that it adds value to already funded research, makes new research projects cheaper and accelerates the entire process. For example, one genetic model for breast cancer could require a comprehensive breeding program to generate one mouse that has the necessary phenotype. This program may take up to 18 months to produce results, and it will be very expensive.

With access to the necessary tissues through SEARCHBreast, the amount of time for the research drops to a matter of weeks, which considerably reduces the cost. Additionally, it removes the need for more testing animals.

These benefits have already manifested through SEARCHBreast since its launch in 2014. The tissue prototype database has assisted the sharing of hundreds of tissue samples. As a result, 400 animals were spared.

How to Use SEARCHBreast

SEARCHBreast is available to all biomedical scientists and is free to use. All that you have to do is register. You can register here by entering the following information:

  • name,
  • email address,
  • the institute with which you work, and
  • an account password.

You also have the option to allow SEARCHBreast to contact you and to get information about workshops and other special events. Before submitting your information, you must enter the random text in the reCAPTCHA box too.

After creating an account, using the search and sharing features are pretty straightforward. You can access these features through the menu bar on the homepage of the SEARCHBreast website. If you find a model that you want to use, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the model name and a brief description to find out how to obtain it.

To share models, just use the deposit form. You decide how much information that you want to provide. The details will be made viewable to other registered users who search for the models. The institute with which you work will be visible, but your name and email will remain anonymous.

Molding the Future of Biomedical Research

SEARCH wants to bring biomedical research into a new era to support advancements in the study of human diseases. Using the SEARCHBreast platform is just the first step toward achieving this.

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