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Feasibility Assessment of Subcutaneous Radio-Telemetry Device Implantation in NHPs

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Feasibility Assessment of Subcutaneous Radio-Telemetry Device Implantation inNHPs presented by Mark Campbell, Study Director, Research Scientist

Authors: M. Campbell, J. Forget, S. Nechev, A. Celori, B. Megrath, T. Hernandez, and T. Rogers. Altasciences, Seattle, WA.

With the goal of potentially reducing the trauma caused by surgical implantation of telemetry units without negatively impacting the quality of information obtained from studies involving such implants, Altasciences investigated the feasibility and quality of data capture of two different methods of telemetry device implantation in non-human primates (NHPs): the standard intra-abdominal implant method vs. a less invasive subcutaneous implant method. Four animals (2 per gender) were assigned to each group. Animals were implanted with radio-telemetry transmitters to allow for continuous capture of cardiovascular and body temperature data. All animals recovered for a minimum of 21 days prior to the beginning of monitoring. Rectal temperature and clinical pathology (hematology, coagulation, and serum chemistry) were also captured on a weekly basis. Telemetry data obtained in weeks 1 through 6 showed no marked differences in cardiovascular readings between intra-abdominal and subcutaneous implants. Blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG were all found to be within normal ranges for both groups. There was a notable difference in body temperature readings obtained between the 2 implant sites during the first 3 weeks of monitoring. Mean temperatures recorded in the intra-abdominal implants were 1.5 degrees lower than rectal temperatures recorded on the same day, while temperatures in the subcutaneous implants were often 3 to 4 degrees lower. There appeared to be a gradual loss of accuracy over time in intra-abdominal temperature readings after week 3. Minimal changes in clinical pathology observed during the post-implantation phase in both groups were consistent with low-grade inflammation. The pattern and extent of the alterations were comparable across implantation sites, indicating little difference in surgical trauma between methods. The feasibility of sustaining subcutaneous implant placement was limited by animal size. Larger male animals (4.5-5 kg) tolerated the subcutaneous implants well while the smaller females (~3 kg) did not, due to the lack of a subcutaneous space that would allow the device to sit comfortably. One female was euthanized after 5 weeks of monitoring due to repeated exposure of the device. Subcutaneous telemetry implants appear to be a viable alternative to intra-abdominal implants in NHPs of sufficient size, but are not ideal for smaller animals.

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