Hawkins, P., Armstrong, R., Boden, T. et al. 2015. Applying refinement to the use of mice and rats in rheumatoid arthritis research. Inflammopharmacology 23, 131–150.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful, chronic disorder and there is currently an unmet need for effective therapies that will benefit a wide range of patients. The research and development process for therapies and treatments currently involves in vivo studies, which have the potential to cause discomfort, pain or distress. This Working Group report focuses on identifying causes of suffering within commonly used mouse and rat ‘models’ of RA, describing practical refinements to help reduce suffering and improve welfare without compromising the scientific objectives. The report also discusses other, relevant topics including identifying and minimising sources of variation within in vivo RA studies, the potential to provide pain relief including analgesia, welfare assessment, humane endpoints, reporting standards and the potential to replace animals in RA research.