Combining computational modelling with in vitro cellular responses in order to predict chemical impact on fish growthEach year, hundreds of thousands of fish are used in legally required experiments to test for possible adverse side-effects of chemicals on the biologial growth of organisms or to identify any potential poisonous impact of new chemical substances intended for use in industry and in the home.
Prof. Kristin Schirmer, EAWAG, Dübendorf
In this project a new computational model was developed for carrying out the corresponding tests in the future through calculations using a comprehensive database containing toxicity test data obtained in vitro from such fish. Furthermore, researchers should also be able to use the model to predict possible inhibitory effects on the growth of fish embryos, an established parameter for potential environmental damage.
Validation of human stem-cell pluripotency using a bioreactor-based culturing system instead of a murine model to effect the development of embryoid bodies into teratomasAfter stem cells from donor tissue have been isolated (or cultured) it is necessary to test whether these cells still retain the ability, which is typical of stem cells, to differentiate into various types of tissue (pluripotency). According to international guidelines, such testing for pluripotency of stem cells is normally carried out using mice whose immune system is non-functional.
Prof. Christian de Geyter, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital, Basle
Prof. De Geyter's research team have succeeded in creating a three-dimensional, bioreactor-based culturing system whereby stem cell candidates can be tested for the ability to actually produce the three germ layers.
In-vitro engineering of a human cell-based three-dimensional dynamic model of atherosclerosisThe most common cause of death among people in the western hemisphere is cardiovascular disease. In the majority of cases, the causes of the disease can be traced back to lesions in the arterial cell walls, so-called atherosclerotic plaque. At present, various animal models are used to investigate the origin of cardiovascular disease as well as for developing and testing new medication aimed at preventing/arresting or even curing the disease.
Dr. Benedikt Weber, Swiss Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Hospital Zurich.
In this project, the research team have succeeded in developing a three-dimensional cell culture system from human atherosclerotic plaque (from material obtained following heart and blood vessel surgery) whereby the variety of cells involved in the disease are included in the model. The system is also capable of imitating the pulsatile blood vessel phenomena for simulating the biomechanical forces that play an important role in the origin of cardiovascular disease. This system provides a new biological "tool" for this vast research field that will help to avoid the necessity of using a large number of laboratory animals.
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