Phases can help you organise your experiments and study groups into collections in specific time periods.
The phase dates can overlap.
You may only have one phase into which all your experimental groups belong.
Common uses of phases are:
- If you need to acclimatise your animals or prepare them before they are ready for experiments. This is common if you need tumours to be of a particular size, weight to have reached a critical level or even if you simply need to observe them for several days post shipping / identification / surgery to ensure they are healthy before assigning them to your study groups
- You may have a phase of observations, procedures, interventions, such as injections and data collection over a key period. If you then have a sample that you wish to analyse, post study, e.g. for necropsy or observation post study, you may wish to keep the data sets separate, and can do this by creating a post intervention phase.
Adding a Phase
All studies must have at least one phase defined.
To add a phase, ensure your study is in Edit mode by clicking on the Edit Study button (which will change to an Update button).
Click on the Phases and Experiments tab to open the screen below.
Click on the Add phase button to add a Phase.
The form below will open when you select the Add Phase button.
Input a name for your Phase and define the start and end dates for the Phase and click the Add button to save it.
- Phases must start and end within the Protocol and Study start and end dates.
- Phases may overlap – e.g. a experimentation phase may begin before the end of an acclimatisation phase, for example if you are enrolling animals into experiments when they achieve a certain physiological benchmark or threshold which qualifies them for study, such as a minimum bodyweight or tumour size
Acclimatisation and pre-study preparation
In some experiments, animals cannot be enrolled into a study group until they meet certain parameters – e.g. weight, age, tumour size etc.
If the researcher has this need, this is how they must design the study in our system:
Pre-study or acclimatisation phase
- Create your first phase – with start and end date. Name it – e.g. Acclimatisation phase (tumour development) etc.
- You can also create the next phase, which might be Study Phase – Compound testing
- There may be a third phase, which is Post Study Phase – Necropsy analysis
- You can have as many phases as you need.
Once you have your phases, click on the phase to add your experimental or study groups to that phase.
Pre-study or acclimatisation phase experiment groups
Based on your power analysis, you will have worked out the total sample size / number of animals you require for your research. Let’s assume the research requires 4 groups of 25 animals each = 100 animals in total.
You need to ensure your protocol has approved sufficient numbers of animals for you to enrol 100 mice into your study.
If you have an acclimatisation phase, you may need to enrol more than the 100 mice into your phase 1 as not all 100% of the animals may reach the minimum criteria to be enrolled into a study phase. E.g. their tumours do not take; they do not reach the target weigh; they do not recover from a procedure etc.
So, with an acclimatisation phase, you may simply have 1 Experiment, for example called Acclimatise animals – tumour volume or Acclimatise animals – weight target etc.
For this one experiment group you can enrol, or add, all your mice. In this experiment you will add the procedures you will perform, the observations you will undertake. E.g. inject tumour cell line; measure tumour, weigh etc.
Moving animals from acclimatisation phase experiment groups to study experiment groups
When an animal is acclimatised (e.g. has completed 3 days settling in, or the tumour size matches the minimum etc.) you can then move the animal from your current phase an experimental group to your study phase and new experimental group.
To do this you must un-enrol them from the current group so you can enrol them in the new group. See the section on Enrolling animals for information on how to perform this function.