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Publication of Annual Report for 2013 (June 2014)
On 6 May 2014 the Administrative Board approved the 2013 Annual Report on the Foundation's activities as well as the financial statements for 2013. A total of Fr. 568,479 was paid out for research projects. Four new projects were approved and three final project reports were submitted. Moreover, the Administrative Board decided on a major overhaul of the Administrative Board and the Evaluation Committee.
Annual Report for 2013 | PDF version

A new in-vitro approach to the study of brain tumours: an alternative to in-vivo experiments in animals (June 2014)
3R-Info-Bulletin 52
In humans, glioblastomas are the most common and most aggressive type of brain tumours. Animal experimentation as part of research into glioblastomas causes extreme suffering since it involves implanting a tumour in the brain of a mouse. Together with his research team at the University of Geneva, Dr. Olivier Preynat-Seauve has succeeded in developing a cell culture model whereby the interaction between the tumour cells and nerve tissue can be simulated. Through this model, experiments that cause considerable suffering to the mice should become superfluous.
3R-Info Bulletin 52 | Project 115-09

Completion of a project (May 2014)
In vitro fish hepatocytes as source of metabolic clearance data in alternative approaches for the reduction or replacement of in vivo bioaccumulation testing with fish
Prof. Helmut Segner, Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Switzerland
Numerous substances in daily use (cleaning fluids, cosmetics, medication, etc.) that are disposed of in waste water cannot be broken down naturally. Subsequently, they accumulate in various natural habitats a well as in animal species (bioaccumulation) with damaging effects on flora, fauna, the quality of our drinking water, etc. The problems caused by bioaccumulation are investigated using, among other things, trout. Prof. Segner and his team have succeeded in developing a new in-vitro testing method using liver cell cultures from these fish thus replacing testing in live animals.
Project 108-07

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Organotypic slice cultures derived from brains obtained from slaughterhouses as an in vitro alternative for the investigation of neuroinfectious diseases in ruminants
Prof. Anna Oevermann, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Switzerland
Infections of the brain (or of the central nervous system), for example through bacteria (listeria), viruses (BSE) or active protein molecules (prions) normally lead to serious disease in humans or animals. So far, there is a lack of laboratory models, for example in vitro simulation, for researching such diseases. Prof. Oevermann has succeeded in developing a culture model for investigations in this area by using nerve tissue taken from animals obtained from slaughterhouses.
Project 116-09

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Development of an in vitro model from embryonic stem cells for identifying tissue inflammation as a reaction to implanted material
Prof. Maria Wartenberg, Department of Molecular Cardiology, University Clinic, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
The development of new implant material for artificial hip joints, etc. involves, among other things, testing the rate of tolerance among recipients. Normally this is done using live animals. Prof. Wartenberg has succeeded in developing a tissue tolerance test using embryonic stem cells. This in vitro method provides valuable information as to potential tolerance in humans.
Project 117-09

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Nerve-cell mimicking liposomes as an in vitro alternative for demonstrating the potency of toxins with multistep pathways such as Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT)
Dr. Oliver G. Weingart, Institute of Food Sciences, Nutrition and Health, Zurich Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
Botulinum neurotoxins are not only dangerous substances that are produced by bacteria in cases of infection and can lead to nerve paralysis, but are also used in a cosmetic preparation to eliminate wrinkles caused by ageing. Normally such neurotoxins are tested on laboratory animals. In this project, Dr. Weingart has achieved a major step towards developing a new in-vitro based efficacy test for these substances.
Project 125-11

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Model development and validation to investigate myeloid cell homeostasis
Dr. Charaf Benarafa, Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Berne, Switzerland
The blood's defence cells live for only a short time – a matter of hours – and for this reason many animals are required for research in this field. In order to replace these animals in the future, Dr. Benarafa and his team attempted to make such cells "immortal" so that many fewer or even no laboratory animals would need to be sacrificed. Unfortunately it was found that cells transformed in this way lose an important defence ability and certain other characteristics, with the result that they are no longer of use in research.
Project 126-11

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Genetic modification of the human airway epithelium – a paradigmatic system to study host responses to human respiratory viruses
Prof. Volker Thiel, Institute of Immunbiology, St. Gallen Cantonal Hospital, Switzerland
Many infectious diseases in humans start off in the airways, where germs manage to adhere to the airway epithelium and infect the victim's body (colds, influenza, etc.). Research in this field is based principally on animal experimentation. Prof. Thiel has succeeded in devising an in vitro epithelium cell model which will enable researchers to study the development of such human respiratory diseases in vitro.
Project 128-11

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Using a microfluidic chamber to study mitochondrial transport in PTEN and SOCS3 dependent axonal regeneration
Prof. Zhigang He, Children’s Hospital Boston, USA
Research into healing processes in damaged nerve fibers (axons) and testing of new substances for promoting such healing rely heavily on the use of laboratory animals. Prof. He and his team at the Boston Children's Hospital in the USA have succeeded in developing a new in-vitro system for investigating the early processes in the healing of such fibers using cell cultures.
Project 129-11

Completion of a project (May 2014)
Identification of predictive in vitro markers for hematopoietic stem cell function
Prof. Matthias P. Lutolf, Laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering, Institute of Bioengineering, Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
Human haematopoietic stem cells have been successfully used in medicine to treat leukaemia. Before the treatment can be given, however, many tests must be carried out to determine the stem cell characteritics and various other functions and abilities of the cells, which normally involves laboratory animals. Prof. Lutolf has succeeded in developing a new in-vitro method for obtaining this information whereby some of the testing can be done in vitro using new markers.
Project 132-12

A new Chairman of the Administrative Board (December 2013)
On 2 December 2013 the Administrative Board elected Joachim Eder, Member of the Council of States, as Chairman to the Administrative Board. He replaces Christine Egerszegi, Member of the Council of States, who resigned from the Administrative Board.
Administrative Board

A new face on the Administrative Board (December 2013)
On 2 December 2013 the Administrative Board elected Dr. med. vet. Kaspar Jörger, Head of the Division Animal Protection of the (new) Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs to the Administrative Board. He replaces Prof. Hans Wyss, Director of the Federal Veterinary Office, who resigned from the Administrative Board.
Administrative Board

Generic in-vitro evaluation assay for immunological correlates of protection in foot-and-mouth disease, to replace animal-challenge infections (November 2013)
3R-Info-Bulletin 51
Foot-and-mouth disease is an affection of viral origin, which attacks cattle and swine. The consequences of infection are disastrous for individual animals. But also epidemiologically, an outbreak of the disease can spread like wildfire and is extremely difficult to eradicate. Hence, an effective vaccination of livestock is of paramount importance in controlling and combating outbreaks of the disease. The screening of potential vaccines is usually conducted in living animals and is a highly stressful experience for them. The aim of this project was to develop an in-vitro assay for the monitoring of vaccine potencies. Prof. Artur Summerfield’s research team at the Institute of Virology and Immunprophylaxis, Mittelhäusern, Switzerland have been successful in establishing a novel in-vitro system to measure the efficacies of vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease, thereby obviating the need for conventional serological testing in animals.
3R-Info Bulletin 51 | Project 113-08

New project (October 2013)
Optimization of the nerve-cell-mimicking liposome assay as an in-vitro alternative for the detection of Clostridium-botulinum neurotoxins and for a validation of their presence in complex sample materials
Marc-André Avondet and Prof. Stephen Leib, Toxinology Group, Spiez Laboratory, FOCP, Switzerland
Neurotoxins that are derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum are used medicinally to treat diverse disorders, such as dystonia, hyperhidrosis, strabism, chronic pain and headaches. More recently, a lucrative market for these toxins has been captured in the field of cosmetic surgery, in which they are applied as anti-wrinkle agents. For the quality control of new toxin batches, more than half a million mice per year are utilized in Europe and the USA alone. With the ultimate goal of entirely replacing such mouse-based assays, the investigators working on this project will further develop a new methodological approach that has been conceived using nerve-cell-mimicking liposomes.
Project 138-13

New project (October 2013)
Validation of a new human in-vitro model of microglia
Prof. Luis Filgueira, Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
The local resident defence cells of the brain are microglia. They are implicated in inflammatory responses of the brain and in protecting it against infection, as well as in the regenerative processes that follow injury or pathological degeneration (such as that associated with Alzheimer’s disease). With a view to elaborating novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment of brain diseases, the roles played by microglia in their development must be understood. To forward this goal, various animal models have been established. And, regrettably, even in-vitro studies cannot be conducted without the loss of animal life, since the necessary microglia can be obtained only from excised brains. The investigators who are working on this project have discovered that cells (monocytes) originating from human peripheral blood can be transformed into microglia. This finding opens up the possibility of establishing a human in-vitro model of microglia and thus of obviating the need for the sacrifice of animal life. In this project, the human in-vitro model of microglia will be validated.
Project 137-13

New project (October 2013)
Development of an in-vitro potency assay for the Clostridium-chauvoei vaccines: Replacement of the guinea-pig-challenge potency test
Prof. Joachim Frey, Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Switzerland
Blackleg is a bacterial disease that affects cattle and sheep. It leads to extensive tissue necrosis, particularly in the muscles of the limbs. For the development of novel and/or improved vaccines to protect animals at risk, the efficacy of potential preparations are tested in vivo. The process of screening is usually conducted on guinea pigs and is a highly stressful one for the animals involved. The aim of this project is to develop a safe in-vitro screening system for routine laboratory use that would render the ubiquitous guinea-pig-challenge potency test obsolete.
Project 136-13

New project (October 2013)
In vitro engineering of a human cell-based three-dimensional dynamic model of atherosclerosis
Dr. Benedikt Weber, Swiss Center for Regenerative Medicine, University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland
Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death in the Western world. In most cases, the underlying lethal pathology is atherosclerosis, which targets the walls of the blood vessels. In addition to a genetic predisposition, the disease is often associated with obesity, excessive stress and nicotine addiction. To promote the development of novel therapeutic drugs for the treatment of atherosclerosis, it is necessary to understand the factors that contribute to its onset and progression, for which purpose various animal models are employed. In this project, the aim is to elaborate a clinically relevant in vitro model of atherosclerosis using human cells that are derived from surgical waste material.
Project 135-13

A new face on the Administrative Board (October 2013)
On 31 October 2013 the Administrative Board elected Dr. med. vet. Philippe Bugnon, who works for the Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, University of Zurich, to the Administrative Board. He replaces Silvia Matile-Steiner, who resigned from the Administrative Board.
Administrative Board
Information for applicants and project managers


Principal areas for financial support

Instructions Concerning Project Outlines

Instructions concerning the detailed description of project

Form for Project Outlines (Word)

Application Form (Word)

Form for yearly reports (Word)

Guidelines for Awarding Research Grants


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