Monday, 04 December 2017 11:50

Newsletter December 2017 Featured




1. WORKING GROUP – A PORTRAIT: Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Department “Drug Delivery”

InVitro+Jobs presents scientists and their innovative research in a regular feature called “Working Group – a Portrait”. We focus on newly developed methods, their evaluation and their potential for reducing and where possible replacing animal experimentation according to the 3R principles of Russel & Burch (reduce, refine, replace).

In this issue we present the Department “Drug Delivery” at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) headed by Prof Claus-Michael Lehr, Professor for Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology at Saarland University. In light of the increasing threat posed by infectious diseases, the team investigates the properties of biological barriers in the human body and how they can be overcome, so as to deliver drugs to the site where they should ultimately take effect. Biological barriers protect the body against harmful environmental influences, but also selectively allow substances to pass that the body needs. The barriers include the skin, the intestine, the oral mucosa and the lungs. The team develops in vitro methods for use in their research and the scientists believe that only human-specific test methods.

We spoke with Prof Lehr about the in vitro models in pulmonary research and his assessment of the prospects for animal-free methods using organ-on-a-chip-systems.

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ECHA: More progress needed to replace animal tests under EU chemicals laws
In its current report, the European Chemicals Agency sees progress on alternatives to animal testing, however, developments are not yet sufficient to foresee the end of animal testing in chemical testing.
For lower tier endpoints such as skin corrosion/irritation, serious eye damage/eye irritation and skin sensitization, companies already use in vitro tests as the default method. However, for more complex endpoints, for example repeated dose toxicity or reproductive toxicity, non-animal approaches are not yet foreseeable.

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Animal Protection Research Award of the Federal Ministry goes to Sepsis Researcher
The 36th presentation of the Animal Welfare Research Award of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture took place in Berlin in November. This year’s happy winners were Dr. Alexander Mosig and his team from Jena University Hospital. The group not only develops organs on microchips but also integrates inherent immune cells in order to get closer to the human situation. They study their function as well as their behaviour in organ diseases.

We interviewed this year’s Animal Welfare Research Award recipient, Alexander Mosig, about his research and prospective developments in organ-on-a-chip systems.

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EU research gets €110M top-up for 2018
EU negotiators agreed to allocate an extra €110 million to the Horizon 2020 research program in 2018, overturning a proposal by EU governments to cut nearly half a billion euros from EU research spending. The additional money will be distributed among several arms of Horizon 2020, including the Marie Curie fellowship grants, the SME Instrument, European Research Council, and some climate change competitions.
In a final settlement, it was decided that the EU would spend €160.1 billion overall next year, up from €157.9 billion in 2017.

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European roadmap for organ-on-a-chip technology
A new research consortium is developing a roadmap for further development of organ-on-a-chip technology on behalf of the EU.
The aim of the consortium is to help organ-on-a-chip technology achieve a breakthrough on a social and economic level through coordinated action. Organ-on-chips are miniature organs based on concepts of microfluidics and microtechnology. This technology already offers new possibilities for drug discovery and is an alternative to conventional animal experiments. Organ-on-chips can also be used in personalized medicine or safety pharmacology. The EU will invest 0.5 million euros over the next two years in the ORgan-on-CHip In Development (ORCHID) project.

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December 6, 2017
RegMed Forum – Advanced Disease Models: From 3D Culture and 3D Bioprinting towards Multi-Organ Chips. Berlin.
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31. Dezember 2017
CAAT Next Generation Humane Science Award.
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31. Januar 2018
Ursula M. Händel-Tierschutzpreis: 50.000 Euro für den Tierschutz in der Forschung.
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27. - 29. August 2018
12th Conference and Workshop on Biological Barriers. Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland and Saarland University, Saarbrücken.
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23. - 26. September 2018
21st European Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing and 18th Annual Congress of EUSAAT. University of Linz, Austria.
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