What I want to do
With today’s bustling advance in medical knowledge, the introduction of experimental animals is indispensable, especially in the field of fundamental medical research. Yet, the truth is, high expenses in research equipment and instruments are limiting the advances of ground breaking discoveries, where researches are forced to meet competitive funds for progression. To cause a break though, we focused to develop an anesthesia apparatus, which is user, experiment and economically friendly at any laboratory to be used. From this, we believe that laboratories with a budget challenge are able to focus on animal research, which was never possible until today.
My attempt and results
Out of all of the features of the anesthesia apparatus, the pressure applied from the O2 pump has been the major part of the price tags. To cause a change to this, we have adapted the air pump used for fish tanks instead of costly O2 tanks. In addition, by mixing isoflurane, an anesthetic with high volatility, and the air flow from the fish tank pump, we hypothesized that we can efficiently deliver air including both O2 and isoflurane to the animals to be anesthetized. See video
We designed a device that contains 2 types of pumps, where each deliver air and isoflurane. One of the pumps were connect to the anesthesia introductory box for the delivery of O2 (AIR PUMP, figure 1a), and the other to produce and deliver the mixture of both O2 and isoflurane (Isoflurane PUMP) into the anesthesia introductory box. (Figure 1b)
One tube leaves from the introductory box and branched into 4 separate exits, with respiratory devices attached onto each exit (Figure 2). By having this character, we have made it possible to conduct procedures on multiple mice simultaneously.
These tubes were connected to a charcoal filter to prevent any leakage of the isoflurane (figure 3). To prevent any changes to the body temperature of treated animals, a small heater was set just underneath the respiratory devices (figure 4).
In order to increase portability, we have designed a wooden body to insert the whole device, where the front cover contains the operating and treatment table for experimental use. The two pumps are interlocked together with a single switch that was also set on the treatment table (figure 5).
Questions and next steps
Since we have applied a fish tank pump for recreational use instead of traditional O2 tanks, fine tuning of the strength of the anesthesia at the initial setting would be a challenge for beginners. We plan to tackle this problem by utilizing additional devices such as flow meters and monitoring devices in order to maximize the accuracy of our device.
Why I'm interested
As mentioned previously, cutting down the cost of experimental devices is key to causing a gigantic leap in one’s research, where in this case our anesthesia apparatus fits perfectly to these criteria. With the power of “DIY” and the never ending passion towards seeking for the meaning behind medical science, we have managed to lower the prices from $10,000 to $500 per device, which was never thought to be possible. From our achievements, experimental animal use would be much more accessible in medical research, where laboratories though-out the globe can have a more sophisticated view of the physiological world. We hope our anesthesia device can support your future research, and provide you with a more flexible opportunity in the use of experimental animals.