Tumor-on-chips to study delivery of protein therapeutics
Valentina is a PhD candidate at the Department of Biochemistry at Radboudumc. Her research focuses on developing and applying organ-on-chip technologies, such as tumor-on-a-chip systems, to study the tissue-specific and cytosolic delivery of protein therapeutics. Valentina's research has also aimed at bridging the gap between engineers and biologists, promoting the use of microfluidic organ-on-chip technologies to answer more relevant biological questions. One example of this is the development of a mathematical model that could be applied to study drug delivery and diffusion in a tumor-on-a-chip system and to extrapolate possible outcomes of the delivery of therapeutic proteins to tumors in the human body. Another collaboration led to the development of a tumor-on-a-chip where hypoxic conditions can be replicated and investigated, and where the targeting of specific hypoxia markers in tumor cells can be investigated.
Stem cell differentiation assays for animal-free developmental neurotoxicity assessment
Victoria de Leeuw was a PhD candidate in the research group of prof. dr. Aldert Piersma at the RIVM and Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University. Piersma's lab studies the effects of compounds on development of the embryo during pregnancy with, among other techniques, stem cell cultures. The project of Victoria was aimed to differentiate embryonic stem cells of mouse and human origin into neuronal and glial cells, which could mimic parts of differentiation as seen during embryonic brain development. These models were able to show some of the known toxic mechanisms induced by these compounds, congruent with what they we hypothesised to mimic. This provides mechanistic information into how chemical compounds can be toxic to brain development. Therefore, these two stem cell assays make a useful contribution to the animal-free assessment of developmental neurotoxicity potential of compounds. Victoria is nominated for the Hugo van Poelgeest prize 2022 for excellent research to replace animal testing.
Immortalized human cells to model atrial fibrillation in vitro
Niels Harlaar is a PhD Candidate at the Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Here, under the supervison of prof. dr. D.A. Pijnappels and dr. A.A.F. de Vries, he focusses on the conditional immortalization of human atrial cardiomyocytes for (among many other applications) in vitro modelling of atrial fibrillation. He has successfully generated, characterized and applied this technique of these conditionally immortalized human atrial myocyte lines to model atrial fibrillation in vitro. Niels is nominated for the Hugo van Poelgeest prize 2022 for excellent research to replace animal testing. Click here (https://hartlongcentrum.nl/research/laboratory-of-experimental-cardiology/) for more information on the Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology.
Helpathon #7 - Can you help Jesmond and Duco?
Can you help Jesmond Dalli, Professor at Barts, the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Queen Mary University of London and Duco Koenis, Post-Doctoral Fellow in his team, to identify animal free research methods to discover novel drug targets for resolving inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and bacterial infections? Join Helpathon #7 – first of its kind as it will take place in the UK, on 10-11th of October 2022.
Helpathon #6 - Can you help Sue?
The Helpathon team is professionalising their #animalfreeinnovation helpathon practice. After two days of hard work the question how the Helpathon Hotel sould look like took shape. This friendly, disruptive, co-creative approach has proven to create new networks, new insights and in the most tangible way new animal free research projects. We are proceeding under the new name of #helpathonhotel.
Projects and initiatives
The in3 project aims to drive the synergistic development and utilisation of in vitro and in silico tools for human chemical and nanomaterial safety assessment. The project focused on differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells to toxicologically relevant target tissues including; brain, lung, liver and kidney. The tissues, from the same genetic backgrounds, were exposed to common compounds and the data generated and prediction tools generated were used to develop modernised safety assessment approaches combining cheminformatics, mechanistic toxicology and biokinetics into computational models which can account for donor and tissue specific effects.
Projects and initiatives
The Beyond Animal Testing Index
The Beyond Animal Testing Index (BATI) was designed after the Access to Medicine Index with the aim to be a transparent, objective and independent benchmark that provide public research organisations and their stakeholders insight in what efforts and contributions they make in the transition to animal free innovation and to provide organisations incentive to learn from and inspire each other with regard to the implementation of research practices without the use of animals for the benefit of science.
Transition beyond animal welfare
This video explains what the programme TPI (Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals) is about.
Projects and initiatives
The European collaborative project SCREENED aims to develop three-dimensional (3D) cell-based in vitro tests to better characterize the effects of endocrine disruptors (EDs) on thyroid gland function. This method will overcome the limitations of existing tests, being more sensitive at low doses of exposure to chemicals, and enabling the prediction of their toxicity on human health in a sex-specific manner. The ambition of the SCREENED project is that these new 3D in vitro tests, as well as the increased knowledge about adverse reactions after exposure to EDs, will be used for regulatory purposes, ultimately to improve human health.
Stichting Proefdiervrij: Collaboration is key
At Stichting Proefdiervrij (the Dutch society for the replacement of animal testing) we believe that collaboration is essential for the development and implementation of animal-free models. In this video we introduce a few of the ways in which we, as an NGO, collaborate with researchers to reach our goal: the complete replacement of all test on animals
Debate about animal testing
Animal testing contributes to advances in medicine and science in general. But in recent years people have increasingly questioned research using laboratory animals. The European Union and the Dutch government want to be a forerunner in the development and use of innovations that do not involve animal testing, but how do we want to achieve that? What are the challenges and opportunities for biomedical sciences? How do we accelerate the transition towards animal-free innovation? And what does this mean for research into better treatments for animals? In this debate Dutch leaders in the field of animal(-free) testing share their thoughts and opinions.
Projects and initiatives
In order to better protect human health and the environment from harmful chemicals, the European chemical agency (ECHA) pursues the objective of "zero tolerance" on non-compliance of chemical registration applications. In this video, scientists of the PrecisionTox project - an EU-funded project aiming to accelerate chemical safety assessment with 3Rs compliant models - explain how New Approach Methods (NAMs) provide rich biological data that can help close the data gap to increase acceptance of chemicals dossier while reducing, replacing and refining animal experimentation.