Datesand News

Transpharmation happy, animals happy, Datesand happy!

transpharmationIn last month’s Spotlight we were pleased to report a swift and successful outcome to a time-sensitive project we’d taken on Transpharmation. They were very pleased with the device that resulted and said they’d let us have some feedback. True to their word as always, here are their thoughts (rather positive) on the process.

‘Transpharmation is a pre-clinical CRO specialising in translational pharmacology models which help our clients (leading pharmaceutical companies) transition their compounds through to the clinic. Datesand came recommended as a company that would be able to build a bespoke rodent observation chamber for us. This chamber is used to comfortably enclose the animal whilst the behaviours (stimulated responses) are recorded remotely by an observer. We needed this observation chamber tailor made at very short notice. Datesand could accommodate all our requirements and with a very short lead time. The lab device is exactly what we had hoped for, if not better. The quality of the service we received from the Datesand group was outstanding and could not be faulted. We will be using Datesand again for future laboratory devices.’

GV-Solas – Germany’s Congress

zoonlab-1GV-Solas is Germany’s equivalent to our IAT Meeting and takes place annually, in September, in one of the many German cities with links to animal laboratory science. This year’s meeting took place a few days ago in Cologne. Naturally enough, Nicky was there to support our fantastic German distributors Zoonlab.

Nicky describes her flying visit

‘On a stormy Monday I headed over to Cologne to join our distribution partners, Zoonlab, at their national conference GV-Solas.  This is the German equivalent meeting to IAT Congress and is held over 3 days.  After a fairly hairy flight on a very small plane I landed in Dusseldorf and picked up a hire car for the short drive to Cologne. I arrive just in time to head out and meet a few British colleagues for a quick beer before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the next day.

zoonlab-3On Tuesday the exhibition opened bright and early at 8am and I was greeted at the Zoonlab booth by their new MD Theodor Feldman.  The stand was impressive and stood out in the hall of 83 exhibiting companies.  They were showcasing their caging and equipment ranges along with our enrichment which they offer into the German market.  They were most impressed with the new polycarbonate enrichment items and I was also pleased to be able to show them the JWI Award Winner – Mouse Swings.   Samples of Mouse Swings were quickly installed in the cage set-ups and drew lots of attention from Zoonlab sales staff and delegates alike.

Mr Feldman and I attended a couple of papers (to test my German!) about enrichment reducing aggression in group-housed mice and also one about bedding depth and thermoregulation.  In summary, enrichment does indeed reduce aggression and deeper bedding provides a warmer home for mice who then eat less as a result.

Late on Tuesday afternoon I said my goodbyes and headed to Cologne airport for my flight home (which was delayed and my case was lost but that’s another story!).  A really good trip and great to be able to support one of our excellent European Distributors at their national meeting.’


AS-ET Graduation – Hats off to the students

grad-2Hot on the heels of returning from GV-Solas, I hopped on a train to London to be a guest at the AS-ET Graduation Ceremony.  For those of you reading who are not familiar with AS-ET, it is Animals in Science Education Trust, a charity set up to support education within animal science.  AS-ET has distributed, or is committed to distribute, nearly £100,000 in grants to support education and welfare activities. The bulk of the grants are in the form of bursaries to enable individuals to attend courses to improve their own knowledgrad-3ge and skills. These courses range from specialist short courses  to long formal courses such as those leading to the IAT further and higher education qualifications.

Datesand are a long-term supporter of AS-ET and I also sit on their fundraising committee.  It was an honour to be invited to see this year’s further and higher education students graduate in the surroundings of UCL’s London School of Pharmacy. In 2017 there were 12 Diploma Level 4, 7 diploma Level 5, 2 Diploma Level 6 and 6 Middlesex University BSc Professional Practice in Laboratory Science graduates. Congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard!

The graduation ceremony was attended by Ken Applebee, CEO and Chair of IAT Council, and was addressed by the Guest of Honour Robin Lovell-Badge FRS FMedSci.  After the presentation of the certificates there was a break in the rain long enough for photos on the lawn followed by a dash back inside for a glass of fizz and a sandwich.

It was soon time for a dash through the torrential rain back to the station for the train journey home.

Exhibitions & Events

See us at AALAS October 15 -19 2017                                      November  28-30 2017











Stories of second-chance students: ‘Now I don’t feel scared at all’

second-chance-studentsFour Access to HE diploma holders heading to university this autumn tell us how the course gave them another chance to build a better life

Rachel Hall

Tuesday 22 August 2017 11.05 BST  Guardian

On A-level results day, students around the country found out whether they got the grades to secure their place at university.

But it’s not just smiling teens gracing newspaper front pages who discovered where they will spend the next three years. This is the first year that Ucas has included the Access to Higher Education diploma – which prepares people without traditional qualifications for university – in its points system.

Access students often missed out on the chance to go to university at 18 because they faced barriers in their personal lives. Here are some of their stories.

Aisha Begum

Aisha is a care leaver and single mum who has experienced domestic violence. She studied an Access to Higher Education diploma in medicine and biomedical science and has received an offer to study biomedical science at Kingston University London.

I thought I had lost my opportunity to go to university after I didn’t finish my A-levels. When my son moved into full-time nursery it seemed like the right moment to pick up the pieces. I wanted more for myself, and I felt that I owed my son a better life.

As a single mother, doing a one-year intensive access course at a concession price was a better option for me than studying and sitting A-levels at a private centre. The course gave me a routine as well as immense knowledge, as we studied a mix of A-level and first-year undergraduate material. It gave me the time to dedicate myself to my education without compromising on other aspects of my life, like looking after my four-year-old.

Previously, I struggled with my mental health, and even thinking about having to go out every day and meet new people was terrifying. Studying makes me feel independent and gives me direction. I’ve made new friends on my course, something I’d never found easy to do before.

I feel like I have already achieved so much by receiving offers from the likes of UCL and Queen Mary, University of London. Being the first in my family to attend university is a proud moment for me. I don’t think I know anyone who is so ecstatic about studying and exams as I am.

I worry about my social life at university, as I am older than most students who have just done their A-Levels, but otherwise I’m as excited as a child in a candy store.

Gemma Marchant

Gemma is a recovering alcoholic and single mother who has experienced domestic abuse and struggled with her mental health. After completing an Access to Nursing diploma, she will study mental health nursing at Salford University. 

In 2015 my college told me that I would never become a nurse because I was a recovering alcoholic, and that it was pointless doing the access course. This affected my confidence, but I had done some nurse training ten years ago (I left when I got pregnant) and just knew it was the career I wanted.

I decided to apply for mental health nursing because I have struggled previously with alcoholism, suicidal impulses and depression. The access course changed my life: I made new friends, and was able to be me and not just “Gemma the alcoholic”.

I was sober for a year before I started and wanted to prove to myself that I really was able to manage the workload. The course has given me the confidence to be university-ready. The staff were so supportive, especially when I opened up to them about my alcoholism – I didn’t feel judged at all.

Because I got high grades on the diploma I will automatically receive an extra £2,000 from Salford University as a scholarship, which will really help now that nurses do not get bursaries.

I feel that I am going to make a really good mental health nurse as I have been to that dark place where I wanted to die and really couldn’t see a way out. I have that valuable life experience to be able to put myself in other people’s shoes and give them hope.

When I did my nursing training in my early 20s I was frightened to death of everything; now I just want to face new challenges and I don’t feel scared at all.

Maria Akhtar

Maria experienced a forced marriage and several years ago suffered a racially motivated attack which has left her with ongoing physical symptoms. She now runs self-defence and fitness classes for Asian women. She will study criminology at the University of Manchester, which she hopes will launch a career supporting and rehabilitating offenders.

Going to university has always been my dream. The access course was my stepping stone and it is one of the most challenging decisions I have made. I have a tendency to quit things halfway through but I was determined that this time things would be different.

Battling depression is something only a few people can understand. College was more of a personal journey for me and I did it to challenge myself.

One of the most important reasons for me to come this far is my daughter. I was once told by my ex-husband that daughters hold no value compared to a son, a mentality that still runs through Asian families. My faith is what kept me together and my favourite quote from the Prophet Muhammad is “lucky is a women whose first child is a daughter”.

I am going to unlock as many doors as I can and university is one of them. It is going to be a whole new world for me and the most exciting thing is that it will be my journey.

Shantal Boyce

Shantal has a rare form of cancer, as well as mental health issues which mean she has not left her house in nine years. She is hoping to study physiological science at the University of Bristol.

When I applied to do the Access to Higher Education course I was really depressed and didn’t think I would even get on it. But I needed something. The course has given me a goal to work towards and a distraction from feeling ill. Now I have a reason to get up in the morning.

Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, I have had no answers from doctors other than “it’s a very interesting case”. I need to find those answers.

I got married when I was 16 and so I didn’t finish school – I didn’t really think I would be able to go to university. My son did this course the year before me and it was his experience that made me decide to apply.

I’m extremely nervous about university and whether I will be able to cope, but I’m very determined and, if I’ve learnt anything from the last year, I know I will be able to get through it – I have to just take it one day at a time.

I’m really looking forward to being able to talk to people about diseases, investigate causes and find out why some people like me still don’t get answers.

Follow Guardian Students on Twitter: @GdnStudents. For graduate career opportunities, take a look at Guardian Jobs.


Gettin’ Down & Dirty! (and Up)

tough-mudder-1This month Helen, our International Business Manager completed a gruelling Tough Mudder Challenge running with partner Dave and  friend Jim in aid of Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital. Whilst it’s not a local hospital to us here in Manchester, it is a flagship centre for cardiac problems with patients coming from as far afield as the Isle of Wight for treatment. As this hospital is funded by charitable donations, every penny counts so she asked people to dig deep!

Helen recalled ‘When we arrived, the weather was pretty hideous and made the course all the harder and of course, really slippy. I landed flat on my face at one point! The obstacles were very much out of my comfort zone, with 2  approx.. 15 feet high walls. I just stood at the bottom and thought how????

There was bags of teamwork and camaraderie and everyone just spurred each other on. It was all very well organised and you even got a bottle of cider at the end! Despite the bruises, we loved every minute – even planning to do it next year. Bex from Datesand is game so will try to get a Datesand team together. Any takers from elsewhere?’
tough-mudder-3tough-mudder-2 tough-mudder-4






Mezzanine Living

Extra space, extra shelter, extra activity – what more could the modern mouse ask for?

mezzanine-1The brilliant new Mouse Mezzanine from Datesand was designed and prototyped by Gareth Coleman, an experienced T3 animal technician from Cambridge University. The Mezzanine, Gareth’s prize-winning submission to the inaugural Janet Wood Innovation Award, takes animal enrichment to a whole new level.

Gareth’s original prototype Mezzanine has now been produced by Datesand as a commercial product and will be available to purchase very soon. Manufactured in sturdy red polycarbonate, it fits nicely into the cage without restricting access to water or food supplies and provides a wide variety of space, activity and shelter opportunities to enhance the well-being of your animals.

Ring us or e-mail now for prices and further details or to place your first order for the ingenious new Mouse Mezzanine – professionally designed, practically brilliant!


Rebecca Brazil

Customer Care Advisor

I’ve joined Datesand in August 2016 as a Customer Care Advisor and I haven’t looked back since. My role allows me to look after our customers UK and Overseas by providing first class service with a warm and friendly smile on site, over the phone or at exhibitions.

I moved to Manchester 2 ½ years ago from London and now live with my better half Alex in a small town in Der
byshire where our next door neighbours are either horses or sheep. After leaving University in London with a media and film degree, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, so obviously ( or not as the case may be)  I spent some time working on and off in the music industry looking after bands and photographing live music acts. It was an absolute blast and a time that taught me an awful lot about patience , understanding and discovering how fast I could run after tour buses that had forgotten their passports before a flight to the next festival. Despite all the fun and fantastic memories however I decided that I needed a change so entered into the world of Customer Service, first of all working in the construction industry and then moving into this industry.

Moving to Manchester was a big change for me and I’m incredibly thankful to the team at Datesand for helping me fit in and adjust to northern life. I felt a little out of place when I first arrived so I’m thankful they explained to me  what a Barm Cake and a Brew were and when people stop to talk to you at the tram stop it’s ok they are just being friendly.

Outside of work I enjoy live concerts, long walks ( in Derbyshire there are plenty of dales to make sure I get a good workout), obstacle courses such as Tough Mudder and fire spinning —- yes actually spinning fire.I’m also partial to the occasional glass of Malbec.


















Just for fun:


What is the difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon?



The only difference between a hurricane, a cyclone, and a typhoon is the location
where the storm occurs. Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, (e.g Americas) the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific (eg Japan) is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean (eg Australasia, Sri Lanka.)



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Cancer Research UK and Biotecnol to trial new immuno-oncology treatment for advanced tumours

Cancer Research UK press release August 10th 2017


An experimental immuno-oncology treatment will move into early phase clinical trials for patients with advanced solid tumours, including lung cancers, under a collaboration agreement between Cancer Research UK and Biotecnol Limited (link is external).

“Without this collaboration it might have been years before this treatment reached patients so we‘re pleased to work with Biotecnol to elevate their novel drug development platform.” – Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK will support the early clinical development of the company’s promising first-in-class Fdrug called Tb535H.

The drug is the first to emerge from Biotecnol’s novel antibody development platform, Trisoma®. It is directed against the 5T4/WAIF1 tumour antigen, a protein found on many different solid tumours and is thought to contribute to the spread of cancer cells.

Tb535H recruits the patient’s T-cells –killer cells of the immune-system – and directs them to attack tumours. This highly targeted approach uses the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.

The WAIF1 antigen was discovered by scientists at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. It could be a valuable target in many different cancer types, but the initial focus in this trial will be to treat cancers with high unmet-need.  This includes thoracic cancers such as mesothelioma, small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), for which survival remains very low, and renal cell carcinoma.

Under the agreement, Biotecnol and Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will collaborate to take forward Tb535H through a Biotecnol-sponsored first-in-man Phase I clinical trial, using Cancer Research UK’s drug development expertise in return for shareholdings in Biotecnol.

Pedro de Noronha Pissarra, chief executive officer of Biotecnol said: “We’re very proud to work with Cancer Research UK on the development of advanced clinical trial approaches in this competitive and highly promising field of immuno-oncology.

The collaboration is important for Biotecnol’s strategy of working with top cancer institutions in the immune-oncology field which will accelerate the development of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to fight cancer.”

Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development, said: “It’s hugely exciting to be able to accelerate the development of a drug that could change outcomes for patients with many different types of cancer.

In particular we urgently need new ways to improve treatment for lung cancer, which causes more than one in five of all cancer deaths in the UK.”