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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

Genetic manipulation of the human airway epithelium – a paradigmatic system to study host responses to human respiratory viruses (November 2014)
3R-Info-Bulletin 53
The airway epithelium is the main port of entry for many respiratory pathogens and an important barrier to infection. Experimental systems that are suitable for studying basic virus-host interactions are scarce and are still preferentially performed in animal models. Prof. Thiel and his team succeeded to establish a unique in-vitro airway epithelial-cell culturing system that permits the molecular analysis of host-pathogen interactions at the port of entry of many respiratory pathogens.
3R-Info Bulletin 53 | Project 128-11

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
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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