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No call for grant applications in 2016 (December 2015)
On 18. December 2015 the Administrative Board decided to cancel the call for grant applications in 2016. He regrets, that it is not possible to award new grants in 2016. The two sponsors of the 3R Research Foundation, namely the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office and Interpharma, will discontinue the support of the Foundation with a view to establishing a new 3R Competence Center.

New project (September 2015)
Validation of a novel cell-based approach to study thyroidal physiology: Reduction and/or replacement of experiments with rodents
Dr. Gerasimos Sykiotis, Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism Service, Vaud University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland
Rats are normally used to study the function of the thyroid and the role of its secreted hormones. Owing to the small size of the organ, such experiments involve the consumption of many animals. Using stem cells, it has recently become possible to generate three-dimensionally in vitro a functionally-competent model of the hormone-producing part of the thyroid, namely, the follicle. The project aims to validate this new in-vitro model using murine cells, and to ascertain whether various pharmacological and genetic manipulations influence its formation and signal transmission during hormonal steerage in a reproducible manner.
Project 146-15

New project (September 2015)
Combining computational modelling with in-vitro cellular responses in order to predict chemical impact on fish growth
Prof. Kristin Schirmer, EAWAG, Dübendorf, Switzerland
To examine the putatively negative side-effects of chemicals on the biological growth of fish and to determine the potentially poisonous impact of new substances that are intended for industrial and domestic use, hundreds of thousands of animals per year are legally subjected to experimental testing. The aim of this project is to develop a new computational model that is based upon toxicity data appertaining to cultured piscine cells. The comprehensive data-base that will be thereby derived will permit researchers in the future to conduct such testing computationally.
Project 145-15

New project (September 2015)
Development of in-vitro three-dimensional multi-cellular culture models to study the role of heterotypic cellular interactions in colorectal cancer invasion
Prof. Curzio Rüegg, Department of Medicine, Chair of Pathology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
The survival chances of patients with cancer of the colon or the rectum are poor, owing primarily to the capacity of the cancerous cells to invade the surrounding tissue and to metastasize. Relatively little research has been conducted to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the invasive process. The murine models that are currently available for studying the attributes of colorectal cancerous cells are of only limited use. Prof. Rüegg's research team has developed a promising new in-vitro model which can be used to investigate the interactions of the colorectal cancerous with stromal cells during the process of invasive growth. This model will now be rendered more sophisticated by including other cells that are implicated in the process (vascular cells, immune cells, etc.), as well as organ-like modules that better simulate cancer-cell biology.
Project 144-15

New project (September 2015)
An advanced in-vitro model of pulmonary inflammation based on a novel lung-on-chip technology
Prof. Olivier Guenat, ARTORG Centre, Lung Regeneration Tech, University of Berne, Switzerland
Inflammatory changes in lung tissue often lead to serious breathing problems. The complex processes that occur at the air-blood barrier, and which impair the exchange of gases and the flow of blood and influence the breathing mechanism, are normally simulated in animal experiments. The aim of this project is to create a lung model on a chip that will enable researchers to investigate various basic functions of the lung under the influence of pathological agencies, such as a post-traumatic inflammation.
Project 143-15

Publication of Annual Report for 2014 (June 2015)
On 26 May 2015 the Administrative Board approved the 2014 Annual Report on the Foundation's activities as well as the financial statements for 2014. A total of Fr. 401,912.85 was paid out for research projects. Four new projects were approved and eight final project reports were submitted. The Administrative Board and the Evaluation Committee were re-elected for a further 4 year period.
Annual Report for 2014 | PDF version

Completion of a project (May 2015)
Non-invasive electrical monitoring of the population spiking activity in the central nervous system
Dr. Sara Gonzalez Andino, Micro-circuit Neuroscience Laboratory, EPFL, Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
Electro-encephalography (EEG) measures electrical activity on the surface of the head. New EEG analysis models are being developed in order to precisely and topographically locate pathological processes as well as to improve our understanding of the importance and function of electrical brain activity. These new models are aimed at improving topographical resolution so that the electrical activity at even the topographical level of small nerve cell groups in the brain can be described. Experiments are being carried out to measure the electrical activity in the brain both through the skin and through the cranium with a high resolution using laboratory animals. Such experiments fall into category 3 with regard to suffering among the animals used. Dr. Gonzales Andino is proposing a new EEG analysis model that would enable such measurement to be made on the surface of the head. The principle of the new EEG model has been successfully tested and the results have been published. Further work must now be carried out to refine this method in order to achieve the aims defined at the outset.
Project 119-10

Completion of a project (May 2015)
Establishing a novel system for quantitative production of murine basophils in vitro
Prof. Thomas Kaufmann, Institute of Pharmacology, University of Berne, Switzerland
White blood corpuscles are a mixture of various types of cells that serve to protect the system against pathogens that enter the body. It would appear that a subpopulation of these cells – basophils – plays an important role in allergic reactions as well as in the modulation and regulation of immune responses. Research into the functioning of these cells normally involves murine basophils but, owing to their extremely low concentration in the blood (0.5% of white corpuscles), a large number of mice are required in order to be able to isolate minimum quantities of the cells. Prof. Kaufmann's research team has succeeded in producing immortalised basophil precursor cells in vitro which can provide functioning basophils in almost unlimited quantities.
Project 127-11

Completion of a project (May 2015)
Establishment of an in-vitro organ-slice defect model for meniscal repair in orthopaedic research
Prof. Ernst B. Hunziker, Centre of Regenerative Medicine for Skeletal Tissues, University of Berne Switzerland
Injuries to the meniscus, especially in the human knee, are very frequent. Surgical removal of the damaged meniscus normally leads to arthritis in the joint after a few years. For this reason considerable efforts are being made to treat meniscus injuries biologically in order to avoid the later negative side-effects of surgical removal. Through tissue engineering using load-bearing material, regeneration cells and signal substances that regulate the healing processes, such ideas are normally tested on laboratory animals. The aim of this project was to establish a simple, cheap and standardised in-vitro meniscus model that would enable researchers to simulate the injury and the healing process in vitro on the basis of material obtained from slaughter houses (from bovine knee joints).
Project 130-11

Completion of a project (May 2015)
Development of a cardiovascular simulator with auto-regulation
Prof. Stijn Vandenberghe, ARTORG, Biomedical Research Centre, University of Berne, Switzerland
New materials and components such as heart valves, blood vessel walls, etc. are constantly being developed for heart surgery. The functioning, durability, tolerance, etc. of these components are tested on laboratory animals, which involves considerable suffering on their part. The aim of this project was to create an experimental cardiovascular machine which could be used for in vitro research and testing, including long-term testing. Prof. Vandenberghe's team has succeeded in building a realistic cardiovascular machine which accurately simulates the haemodynamic conditions and which can be regulated (using appropriate software) to simulate the various pathological circumstances.
Project 134-12

New project (December 2014)
Validation of a human stem-cell based pluripotency test using a bioreactor-based culturing system instead of a murine model to effect the development of embryoid bodies into teratomas
Prof. Christian de Geyter, University Hospital Basle, Department of Biomedicine, 4031 Basle, Switzerland
After stem cells from donor tissue have been isolated (or cultured) it must be checked whether they have maintained their typical capacity to differentiate into various types of tissue (pluripotency). According to international guidelines, such tests for pluripotency of stem cells are normally carried out using mice with a non-functional immune system.
The authors propose to develop a new bioreactor-based system which will enable researchers to examine the differentiation of stem cells into various types of tissue in vitro.
Project 142-14

Completion of a project (December 2014)
Antibody phage selection strategy for application in non-specialized laboratories
Prof. Dr. Christian Heinis, Laboratory of Therapeutic Peptides and Proteins, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Most antibodies used in research are still produced by immunizing animals. Prof. Heinis and his team succeeded in the development of an antibody scFv phage display library that may be distributed to laboratories free of charge and without any intellectual property (IP) constraints. From this library, antibodies to targets of choice can be isolated in vitro, omitting standard techniques based on animal immunization. In addition, they developed a phage display selection strategy with significantly fewer experimental steps that should facilitate the in vitro generation of affinity ligands by non-experts. The proposed method should replace animal experiments that are commonly performed to develop polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies.
Project 131-12
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Additional 3R news

European Consensus Platform for 3R Alternatives to Animal Experimentation

UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research

The global clearinghouse for information on alternatives to animal testing

Non-animal Methods for Toxicity Testing

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing