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Cells4Thought: using iPSCs for neurodevelopmental health
Projects and initiatives
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Cells4Thought: using iPSCs for neurodevelopmental health

The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), including cognitive impairments, is increasing worldwide with great impact on daily life quality. There is evidence that exposure to chemicals may contribute to the incidence of NDD. However, a causal link is lacking. Towards this goal, a human-relevant in vitro model system mimicking parts of brain development, such as neuronal network functioning, could be used for mechanistic research on how gene-environment interactions contribute to the development of NDD. This is going to be studied in the project Cells4Thought, using induced pluripotent stem cells form different individuals to study the effect of chemicals on neuronal differentiation.
02:3823 days ago
Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (hDMT consortium)
Expert interviews
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (hDMT consortium)

The Institute for human Organ and Disease Model technologies (hDMT) is a precompetitive non-profit technological R&D institute, initiated in the Netherlands. hDMT integrates state-of-the-art human stem cell technologies with top level engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, clinical and pharmaceutical expertise from academia and industry to develop and valorize human organ and disease models-on-a-chip. More information on: www.hdmt.technology , www.h2020-orchid.eu , and www.euroocs.eu .
01:164 years ago
Platform for in vitro airborne inhalation testing
Innovation examples
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Platform for in vitro airborne inhalation testing

The air-liquid interface (ALI) technique uses lung cells cultured on a tiny polymer membrane in a cup. On one side of the membrane is a liquid containing the medium necessary for the cells to survive, while the other side is in contact with air. This is similar to the situation in the human lung. The compound to be tested is administered via an aerosol, vapor, or gas to mimic the situation in human lungs. By monitoring different parameters in the cell model before and after the compound is added, it is possible to measure the effects on lung cells. Depending on the test to be carried out, the lung cells can come from different regions in the respiratory tract and even from a variety of people, including individuals who smoke a lot or have specific diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. In vitro ALI inhalation testing (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b00493) adds value for e.g. pre-clinical trials and research in the pharmaceutical industry and testing (new) compounds for the chemical sector and beyond. The advantages of ALI inhalation testing are that it is a non-animal method, it reduces the use of in vivo experiments, pre-clinical testing with human-derived cell models is more realistic and limits clinical trial failures and it provides faster and more efficient testing of compound
04:1310 months ago
Using data and computational modelling in biomedical research
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationData

Using data and computational modelling in biomedical research

Bioinformatics and systems biology hold great promise to translate the wealth of biological data into meaningful knowledge about human health and disease. The group of Bas Teusink helps biologists to deal with high throughput data, for example metabolomics (how cell metabolism works) and proteomics (how protein networks work) from patient material or cell cultures. This can help to better understand disease mechanisms and aid drug targeting or personalised medicine. In the future, combining data from different models (in vitro, in vivo and human data) could become a digital model of humans, or a “ digital twin”. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Bas (and Jaap Heringa) he[https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/using-data-and-computational-modelling-in-biomedical-research]re.
00:3013 months ago
Biotransformation of two proteratogenic anti-epileptics in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo
Conferences abstracts

Biotransformation of two proteratogenic anti-epileptics in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo has gained interest as an alternative model for developmental toxicity testing, which still mainly relies on in vivo mammalian models (e.g., rat, rabbit). However, cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated drug metabolism, which is critical for the bioactivation of several proteratogens, is still under debate for this model. Therefore, we investigated the potential capacity of zebrafish embryos/larvae to bioactivate two known mammalian proteratogens, carbamazepine (CBZ) and phenytoin (PHE) into their mammalian active metabolites, carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide (E-CBZ) and 5-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-5-phenylhydantoin (HPPH), respectively. Zebrafish embryos were exposed to three concentrations (31.25, 85, and 250 μM) of CBZ and PHE from 51⁄4 to 120 hours post fertilization (hpf) at 28.5°C under a 14/10 hour light/dark cycle. For species comparison, also adult zebrafish, rat, rabbit and human liver microsomes (200 μg/ml) were exposed to 100 μM of CBZ or PHE for 240 minutes at 28.5°C. Potential formation of the mammalian metabolites was assessed in the embryo medium (48, 96, and 120 hpf); pooled (n=20) whole embryos/larvae extracts (24 and 120 hpf); and in the microsomal reaction mixtures (at 5 and 240 minutes) by targeted investigation using a UPLC–Triple Quadrupole MS system with lamotrigine (0.39 μM) as internal standard. Our study showed that zebrafish embryos metabolize CBZ to E-CBZ, but only at the end of organogenesis (from 96 hpf onwards), and no biotransformation of PHE to HPPH occurred. In contrast, our in vitro drug metabolism assay showed that adult zebrafish metabolize both compounds into their active mammalian metabolites. However, significant differences in metabolic rate were observed among the investigated species. These results highlight the importance of including the zebrafish in the in vitro drug metabolism testing battery for accurate species selection in toxicity studies.
02:572 years ago
Developmental neurotoxicity testing using stem cells
Innovation examples

Developmental neurotoxicity testing using stem cells

Children should grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Disruption of brain development may have enormous impact on future life and might result in disorders such as ADHD or cognitive decline. The effect of compound exposure on the developing brain is largely unknown, since in the current regulatory test procedures in experimental animals effects on the brain are rarely investigated and human relevance of these animal models is under debate. Researchers at RIVM are developing a cell model based on human stem cells that mimics a small part of the developing brain. This method is human-relevant, animal-free, and based on mechanistic knowledge of human biology and physiology of brain development. The model can be an important component in a testing strategy to test the safety of chemicals and pharmaceuticals on the developing brain.
02:2724 months ago
Tumor-on-chips to study delivery of protein therapeutics
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Tumor-on-chips to study delivery of protein therapeutics

Valentina is a PhD candidate at the Department of Biochemistry at Radboudumc. Her research focuses on developing and applying organ-on-chip technologies, such as tumor-on-a-chip systems, to study the tissue-specific and cytosolic delivery of protein therapeutics. Valentina's research has also aimed at bridging the gap between engineers and biologists, promoting the use of microfluidic organ-on-chip technologies to answer more relevant biological questions. One example of this is the development of a mathematical model that could be applied to study drug delivery and diffusion in a tumor-on-a-chip system and to extrapolate possible outcomes of the delivery of therapeutic proteins to tumors in the human body. Another collaboration led to the development of a tumor-on-a-chip where hypoxic conditions can be replicated and investigated, and where the targeting of specific hypoxia markers in tumor cells can be investigated.
00:4718 months ago
Using skin and mucosa models to replace animal testing
Innovation examples
HealthInnovationIn vitro

Using skin and mucosa models to replace animal testing

The skin and mucosa are important tissues that differ between species in health and disease. The group of Sue Gibbs works on the development of advanced in vitro models that mimic these two tissues, specialising in immunity models and organ-on-a-chip technologies. They use skin models to study for example melanoma, skin allergies, eczema, burns and healing wounds. Dental models are used for the safety of materials used in dentistry, for example to test the quality of the implant and false tooth when it comes to attaching to the soft tissue. Their ambition is to expand into the field of multi-organ technology to make even more relevant models for the human skin and mucosa. Click on the link in the video to watch more or read the interview with Sue he[https://vu.nl/en/research/more-about/using-skin-and-mucosa-models-to-replace-animal-testing]re.
00:3013 months ago
Development of 3D liver spheroids
Innovation examples
HealthToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Development of 3D liver spheroids

Human-based in vitro models are increasingly being used in the hepatology field. And in addition to the obvious ethical arguments, they offer several advantages over the classical animal models. One of them is the ability to perform mechanistic research at the molecular level in a well-controlled setting and reduce species differences. These liver-based in vitro models can range from simple monolayer cultures of hepatocytes to the liver-on-chips systems in which all liver cells are cultured in a 3D configuration on a microfluidic platform. Liver-based in vitro models must be selected on a case-by-case basis and should fit the purpose of the research, which might go from fundamental to translational research.
01:0410 months ago
Charlotte Blattner: Transition needs community efforts
Expert interviews
Policy

Charlotte Blattner: Transition needs community efforts

Charlotte Blattner (Harvard Law School, Animal Law & Policy Program)
01:064 years ago
Human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment
Innovation examples
ToxicologyInnovationIn vitro

Human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment

Anke Tukker was a PhD candidate in the Neurotoxicology Research group of Dr. Remco Westerink at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences at Utrecht University. Dr Westerink’s research group investigates the mechanisms of action of toxic substances on a cellular and molecular level using in vitro systems. Anke's project aimed to develop a human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neuronal model for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment. Using micro-electrode arrays (MEAs), she showed that these models mimic in vivo neuronal network activity. When these hiPSC-derived neurons are mixed with hiPSC-derived astrocytes, they can be used for in vitro seizure liability assessment. Comparing these data with data obtained from the current used model of ex vivo rodent cortical cultures, she found that these human cells outperform the rodent model. Here research thus contributes towards animal-free neurotoxicity testing. Anke Tukker has won the public vote of the Hugo van Poelgeest prize 2020 for her research on human neuronal cell models for in vitro neurotoxicity screening and seizure liability assessment. Neurotoxicology Research Group, IRAS, Utrecht University: https://ntx.iras.uu.nl/NTXatIras
01:582 years ago
Liquid marbles: a cost-effective platform to generate cardiospheres from co-cultured cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblast for disease modelling
Conferences abstracts

Liquid marbles: a cost-effective platform to generate cardiospheres from co-cultured cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblast for disease modelling

Advances in three-dimensional (3D) culture techniques have shown several advantages over 2D cultures, especially by more accurately mimicking the in vivo environment. This has led to improved reproducibility and reliability of experimental results, which are important criteria in disease modelling and toxicity testing. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) provide an unlimited source for the derivation of all cell types of the adult body, including cardiomyocytes. To improve the current culture methods for multicellular cardiac spheroids, such as the hanging drop method, we explored the use of hydrophobic powders. Fumed silica nanoparticles can be used to encapsulate liquid drops, which could serve as a microenvironment for cell cultures. This microbioreactor stimulates cell coalescence and 3D aggregation while providing optimal gas exchange between the interior and the surrounding environment. Moreover, the properties of liquid marble microbioreactors render them ideal for co-culture experiments. This liquid marble technique has been previously explored and optimized for other cell types. Here we describe a protocol that allows for the derivation of functional cardiac mini organoids, consisting of co-cultured cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts. These cardiospheres can be valuable for modelling cardiac diseases in vitro and assessing cell interactions to decipher disease mechanisms. Lab website: https://www.medicalcellbiologylab.com/ Contact: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeffrey-Aalders RE-place database: https://www.re-place.be/method/liquid-marbles-cost-effective-platform-generate-cardiospheres-co-cultured-cardiomyocytes-and
02:552 years ago