Projects and initiatives
VitalTissue: scientific research can be more human(e)
The goal of VitalTissue is to facilitate the availability of vital human residual tissue for all researchers in the Netherlands. This video shows how VitalTissue works. From a request from a researcher, the donation of the residual tissue by the patient and the transport to the lab. This process is the result of a feasibility study conducted with many stakeholders. The national tissue bank ETB-BISLIFE will implement VitalTissue in practice.
Cartilage-on-a-chip for studying joint degenerative diseases
Carlo Alberto Paggi is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Twente in the research group of Prof. Marcel Karperien and Prof. Séverine Le Gac. Karperien’s lab focus on the biological aspects of osteoarthritic research while Le Gac’s specialize in organ-on-chip development. The project of Carlo Alberto is developing a joint-on-chip platform to create a reliable in vitro model to study disease progression in osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis. The model combines different organ-on-chips aimed at replicating each a tissue around the joint such as cartilage, bone and ligaments. This new technology focuses on better reproducing human models and at substituting the use of animal models for drug research. If you want to know something more about the project and the groups, you can follow the link in the video. Carlo Paggi was nominated for the Hugo van Poelgeest prize for his research on a cartilage-on-a-chip model to study joint degenerative diseases Karperien’s lab of Developmental Bioengineering: https://www.utwente.nl/en/tnw/dbe/ Le Gac’s lab of Applied Microfluidics for BioEngineering Research: http://www.severinelegac.com/ Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlo-alberto-paggi-76500b135/
Sign in for Helpathon #3: Daniela Salvatori
Daniela Salvatori calls for a Helpathon! She invites you to help her and TPI Utrecht to create a unique master course for animal free innovation. You can sign in for this Helpathon here: tpihelpathon.nl. Online, 18th - 19th of June 2020.
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 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.
Charlotte Blattner (Harvard Law School)
Charlotte Blattner (Harvard Law School, Animal Law & Policy Program)
Tony Kiuru (UPM Biomedicals)
Tony Kiuru discusses GrowDex, which is an animal free, ready to use hydrogel that mimics the extracellular matrix (ECM) and supports cell growth and differentiation with consistent results. Bridging the gap between in vitro and in vivo studies GrowDex can be used for 3D cell culture for spheroid and /organoids, in personalised medicine, regenerative medicine, organ-on-a-chip models, drug release studies, 3D printing and much more. GrowDex hydrogel is manufactured according to ISO13485. You can find more information about GrowDex at https://www.upmbiomedicals.com/siteassets/documents/growdex-brochure-2018.pdf and https://www.linkedin.com/company/growdex/ . General email address: email@example.com.
Elly Hol (UMC Utrecht): possibilities for neuroscience
Prof. dr. Elly Hol (neuroscientist) talks about the opportunities for conducting animal-free research in Utrecht. She explains why it is necessary to use animal models next to cell-based models, for example for her Alzheimer research.
Avatar Zoo - teaching animal anatomy using virtual reality
Animals are essential to train the next generation of scientists understand diseases and develop treatments for humans as well as animals. Therefore, animals are used for educational purposes. Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can be employed to reduce the number of animals in the future. Prof. Dr. Daniela Salvatori is working on the development of 'Avatar Zoo' together with UMCU and IT. Live animals are replaced by holographic 3D in this flexible platform. With these holograms one is able to study the anatomical, physiological and pathological systems and processes of all kinds of animals. Avatar Zoo won the Venture Challenge 2021 for the development of virtual reality models that can be used for anatomy classes and practical training.
Respiratory toxicity using in vitro methods
The airways form a barrier for inhaled compounds, however, such compounds may cause local effects in the airways or may lead to lung diseases, such as fibrosis or COPD. Cell models of the respiratory tract, cultured at the air-liquid-interface (ALI) are a relevant model to assess the effects of inhaled compounds on the airways. Such models allow human relevant exposure, which is via the air, and assessment of effects on the epithelial cell layer. At RIVM we use air-liquid-interface cultured cell models and expose these to airborne compounds to assess the effects of agents such as nanomaterials, air pollutants or compounds from cigarette smoke. By using a mechanism-based approach to assess the effects of these compounds we invest in animal-free alternatives that better predict adverse effects in humans.
Treating genetic heart disease using engineered heart tissue
Some heart disease are caused by a gene mutation in the cardiac muscle cells. People with this genetic disease are affected it between the ages of 20 and 40, and there is no preventative treatment for this. The group of Jolanda van der Velden works on the development of engineered heart tissue made from human stem cells to unravel disease mechanisms and test drugs to treat the disease. They use different kinds of stem-cell-based cultures. 2D cell cultures are useful to test a large number of candidate drugs, while patient-derived stem cells that are differentiated in heart cells can help to get detailed understanding of the disease and test the most promising treatments. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Jolanda here (https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/treating-genetic-heart-disease-using-engineered-heart-tissue).
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.