Strict regulations govern the use of laboratory animals in research (see, for example, K. Davies Nature 521, 7; 2015), but scientists are under increasing pressure to justify their experiments and address public concerns (Nature 520, 271–272; 2015). Initiatives such as SEARCHBreast avoid the need to set up further in vivo models by using surplus archival tissue from previous animal studies.

SEARCHBreast (for 'Sharing Experimental Animal Resources: Coordinating Holdings in Breast Cancer') is a searchable platform of tissues, resources and information derived from animal models of breast cancer ( These materials can be deployed for characterizing tumour biomarkers and genetically engineered animal models, for example, or for investigating treatment effects on archived human-to-mouse xenografts.

The 'SEARCH' blueprint translates to other diseases: for example, ShARM (Shared Ageing Research Models; aims to accelerate research on ageing. Such resources support official 'replacement, refinement and reduction' policies (see and save time and money.