Taconic Insights

Biopharmaceutical Trends and R&D

Taconic Biosciences has remained one of the world's leading providers of research models and services for over 60 years through our commitment to anticipating clients’ needs and industry trends. One of the key trends of the past ten years involves our clients’ need to strategically outsource functional areas of their R&D programs. When companies, academic institutions, government agencies and others outsource certain R&D functions they begin to rely on their collaborators, such as Taconic, to keep them apprised of emerging science and technologies in our specific areas of expertise.
In this spirit of collaboration, we present "Taconic Insights", a new section of our website dedicated to educating the industry on key scientific and technological trends impacting biopharmaceutical R&D. Here you will find the latest insights Taconic can provide in the form of articles, white papers, videos, webinars, presentations, and other media.

Ensuring Sterile Feed for Germ-Free Mice

With the increase in institutions that are initiating microbiome studies comes an increase in demands for sterile support materials. Setting up and maintaining isolators to breed and perform studies with germ-free mice is a challenge. There are a number of ways that a biological contaminant can enter an isolator, but the highest risk of contamination may be from improperly sterilized feed. To help us understand better how...

Read More

Copy Number Variation, Microdeletion, and Disease

Copy number variations (CNVs) are duplications and deletions to large (~5kb-5mb) genomic regions found in varying degrees within the human population. These duplications and deletions significantly contribute to human genetic diversity and can dramatically affect gene-dosage. Recently, pathologic and highly-penetrant CNVs have been identified in patients with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. The microdeletion at chromosome location 15q13.3 is one example. This CNV can result in a range...

Read More

WHAT IS THE MICROBIOME?

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms living in and on an organism, such as a human or mouse. Interest in the microbiome is increasing due to a clearer understanding of the its impact on a number of different physiological systems, as well as the realization that microbial communities can vary widely from person-to-person. Aleksandar D. Kostic et al. Genes Dev. 2013; 27:701-718. Copyright© 2013 by Cold...

Read More

Alzheimer's Treatment Decreases Plaques, Improves Cognition

Researchers at Biogen published a pivotal Phase 1b clinical study of an Alzheimer's treatment showing not only a decrease in plaques when the monoclonal antibody aducanumab is administered, but also some cognitive improvement in humans. From the paper: "Antibody-based immunotherapy against Αβ to trigger its clearance or mitigate its neurotoxicity has so far been unsuccessful. Here we report the generation of aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody that...

Read More

Do Some IBD Treatments Work by Altering the Gut Microbiota?

An IBD treatment targeting key cytokine components appears to alter the microbiome in mouse models of IBD. What's the connection? Cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and modulation of cytokines is one therapeutic strategy. Ustekinumab, an antibody that targets IL-12p40 and a component of the cytokines IL-12 and IL-23, demonstrated clinical efficacy against Crohn's disease,...

Read More

Animal Model Quality: Transportation and Environmental Factors

What are the most important factors in assessing the quality of an animal model? In Part I, we discussed two of the four quality considerations for using laboratory mice: health and genetics. To recap: It's important to understand the different health standards when assessing an animal model. Commercial providers often make them available online, or they can be requested from the sending facility. With genetics, using polymerase...

Read More

A Successful Breeding Plan in Five Steps

"It's just breeding... right?" You may want to carry out large cohort studies within the next 4-6 months, or to quickly recover a cryopreserved line from your collaborator to cross with your own knockout line. How difficult can it be? The temptation of getting there fast may make you plunge into a new project right away. But early missteps in colony management can surface months into a...

Read More

Does the Microbiome Affect Behavior in Germ-free Mice?

There is growing evidence that the microbiome, that collection of all the microorganisms which inhabit an individual, can affect cognition and behavior. This has been termed the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Germ-free mice are a critical tool in studies investigating this connection, and they have been shown to have alterations in behavior and cognition compared to conventional mice. Desbonnet et al. demonstrated that germ-free Swiss Webster mice exhibited social...

Read More

Quality Considerations in the Use of Animal Models

Which elements of quality should you consider when conducting a study with animal models? Let's start with the definition of quality from Merriam-Webster: Quality [qual-i-ty] noun How good or bad something is. A characteristic or feature that someone or something has, something that can be noticed as a part of a person or thing. A high level of value or excellence. There are four elements which affect...

Read More

Activated Soy Affects Weight Gain and Microbiome in Obese Mice

Researchers from the USDA, Tulane, LSU, and Microbiome Therapeutics have linked soy pod fiber to significantly reduced weight gain in obese mice. (Source: Obesity. 2016 Jan;24(1):87-95.) The study looked at activated soy pod fiber as a dietary intervention in mice fed an obesogenic diet. Two groups of male C57BL/6NTac mice were fed a purified diet similar to the "condensed milk" diet, with one group's diet altered to...

Read More