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Cells4Thought: using iPSCs for neurodevelopmental health
Projects and initiatives
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Cells4Thought: using iPSCs for neurodevelopmental health

The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), including cognitive impairments, is increasing worldwide with great impact on daily life quality. There is evidence that exposure to chemicals may contribute to the incidence of NDD. However, a causal link is lacking. Towards this goal, a human-relevant in vitro model system mimicking parts of brain development, such as neuronal network functioning, could be used for mechanistic research on how gene-environment interactions contribute to the development of NDD. This is going to be studied in the project Cells4Thought, using induced pluripotent stem cells form different individuals to study the effect of chemicals on neuronal differentiation.
02:3819 days ago
Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (hDMT consortium)
Expert interviews
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (hDMT consortium)

The Institute for human Organ and Disease Model technologies (hDMT) is a precompetitive non-profit technological R&D institute, initiated in the Netherlands. hDMT integrates state-of-the-art human stem cell technologies with top level engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, clinical and pharmaceutical expertise from academia and industry to develop and valorize human organ and disease models-on-a-chip. More information on: www.hdmt.technology , www.h2020-orchid.eu , and www.euroocs.eu .
01:164 years ago
Platform for in vitro airborne inhalation testing
Innovation examples
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Platform for in vitro airborne inhalation testing

The air-liquid interface (ALI) technique uses lung cells cultured on a tiny polymer membrane in a cup. On one side of the membrane is a liquid containing the medium necessary for the cells to survive, while the other side is in contact with air. This is similar to the situation in the human lung. The compound to be tested is administered via an aerosol, vapor, or gas to mimic the situation in human lungs. By monitoring different parameters in the cell model before and after the compound is added, it is possible to measure the effects on lung cells. Depending on the test to be carried out, the lung cells can come from different regions in the respiratory tract and even from a variety of people, including individuals who smoke a lot or have specific diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. In vitro ALI inhalation testing (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00493) adds value for e.g. pre-clinical trials and research in the pharmaceutical industry and testing (new) compounds for the chemical sector and beyond. The advantages of ALI inhalation testing are that it is a non-animal method, it reduces the use of in vivo experiments, pre-clinical testing with human-derived cell models is more realistic and limits clinical trial failures and it provides faster and more efficient testing of compound
04:1310 months ago
Developmental neurotoxicity testing using stem cells
Innovation examples

Developmental neurotoxicity testing using stem cells

Children should grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Disruption of brain development may have enormous impact on future life and might result in disorders such as ADHD or cognitive decline. The effect of compound exposure on the developing brain is largely unknown, since in the current regulatory test procedures in experimental animals effects on the brain are rarely investigated and human relevance of these animal models is under debate. Researchers at RIVM are developing a cell model based on human stem cells that mimics a small part of the developing brain. This method is human-relevant, animal-free, and based on mechanistic knowledge of human biology and physiology of brain development. The model can be an important component in a testing strategy to test the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals on the developing brain.
02:2724 months ago
Tumor-on-chips to study delivery of protein therapeutics
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationIn vitro

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.
00:4717 months ago
Using data and computational modelling in biomedical research
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationData

Using data and computational modelling in biomedical research

Bioinformatics and systems biology hold great promise to translate the wealth of biological data into meaningful knowledge about human health and disease. The group of Bas Teusink helps biologists to deal with high throughput data, for example metabolomics (how cell metabolism works) and proteomics (how protein networks work) from patient material or cell cultures. This can help to better understand disease mechanisms and aid drug targeting or personalised medicine. In the future, combining data from different models (in vitro, in vivo and human data) could become a digital model of humans, or a “ digital twin”. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Bas (and Jaap Heringa) he[https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/using-data-and-computational-modelling-in-biomedical-research]re.
00:3013 months ago
New approaches for cancer hazard assessment
Innovation examples

New approaches for cancer hazard assessment

Chemical substances are subjected to assessment of genotoxic and carcinogenic effects before being marketed to protect man and the environment from health risks. For cancer hazard assessment, the long-term rodent carcinogenicity study is the current mainstay for the detection of nongenotoxic carcinogens. However, carcinogenicity studies are shown to have prominent weaknesses and are subject to ethical and scientific debate. A transition toward a mechanism-based weight of evidence approach is considered a requirement to enhance the prediction of carcinogenic potential for chemicals. At RIVM, we are working on this alternative approach for cancer hazard assessment, which makes optimal use of innovative (computational) tools and be less animal demanding. For more information, click on the link in the video or read on here (https://doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2020.1841732) and here (https://doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2018.1458818). Contact the expert (https://nl.linkedin.com/in/mirjamluijten)
03:142 months ago
Using human organoid technology to treat viral infections in children
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Using human organoid technology to treat viral infections in children

Viral infection in (very young) children can be detrimental to their neurological health. The mechanisms of some viruses work very differently in children compared with adults, which is not well understood yet. The research group of Dasja Pajkrt studies viral infections in children from the clinic by using human-derived organoids. They focus on three groups of viruses that can severely affect children: picornaviruses (responsible for illnesses like meningo-encephalitis and sepsis), cytomegalovirus (which can cause severe disabilities in children born with this virus) and HIV. The human-derived organoids or multi-organ systems allow for detailed mechanistic analysis of the disease and possible treatments that can be brought back to the clinic. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Dasja here (https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/using-human-organoid-technology-to-treat-viral-infections-in-children).
00:3213 months ago
Using skin and mucosa models to replace animal testing
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Using skin and mucosa models to replace animal testing

The skin and mucosa are important tissues that differ between species in health and disease. The group of Sue Gibbs works on the development of advanced in vitro models that mimic these two tissues, specialising in immunity models and organ-on-a-chip technologies. They use skin models to study for example melanoma, skin allergies, eczema, burns and healing wounds. Dental models are used for the safety of materials used in dentistry, for example to test the quality of the implant and false tooth when it comes to attaching to the soft tissue. Their ambition is to expand into the field of multi-organ technology to make even more relevant models for the human skin and mucosa. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Sue he[https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/using-skin-and-mucosa-models-to-replace-animal-testing]re.
00:3013 months ago
Development of 3D liver spheroids
Innovation examples
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Development of 3D liver spheroids

Human-based in vitro models are increasingly being used in the hepatology field. And in addition to the obvious ethical arguments, they offer several advantages over the classical animal models. One of them is the ability to perform mechanistic research at the molecular level in a well-controlled setting and reduce species differences. These liver-based in vitro models can range from simple monolayer cultures of hepatocytes to the liver-on-chips systems in which all liver cells are cultured in a 3D configuration on a microfluidic platform. Liver-based in vitro models must be selected on a case-by-case basis and should fit the purpose of the research, which might go from fundamental to translational research.
01:0410 months ago
Charlotte Blattner: Transition needs community efforts
Expert interviews
Policy

Charlotte Blattner: Transition needs community efforts

Charlotte Blattner (Harvard Law School, Animal Law & Policy Program)
01:064 years ago
Human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment
Innovation examples
ToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment

Anke Tukker was a PhD candidate in the Neurotoxicology Research group of Dr. Remco Westerink at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University. Dr Westerink’s research group investigates the mechanisms of action of toxic substances on a cellular and molecular level using in vitro systems. Anke's project aimed to develop a human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neuronal model for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment. Using micro-electrode arrays (MEAs), she showed that these models mimic in vivo neuronal network activity. When these hiPSC-derived neurons are mixed with hiPSC-derived astrocytes, they can be used for in vitro seizure liability assessment. Comparing these data with data obtained from the current used model of ex vivo rodent cortical cultures, she found that these human cells outperform the rodent model. Here research thus contributes towards animal-free neurotoxicity testing. Anke Tukker has won the public vote of the Hugo van Poelgeest prize 2020 for her research on human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment. Neurotoxicology Research Group, IRAS, Utrecht University: https://ntx.iras.uu.nl/NTXatIras
01:582 years ago