Although many experiments in toxicological research already take place in petri dishes and no longer on animals, the world of research has not yet succeeded in doing without the latter completely – for example, when investigating the side-effects of new medicines on the liver. A team of researchers, including Professor Henner Hollert from the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (TBG), is seeking to replace animal products in research and, to achieve this, is aiming to develop new cell culture techniques that do not use animal cells. Under the leadership of the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, the team took part in the “CRACK IT” innovative competition organised by NC3R and obtained funding amounting to more than EUR 100,000. The British organisation is campaigning to replace animal experiments in research.
If the evaluation is successful, the group could receive further funding amounting to EUR 658,000 for a second phase over a period of three years.
The goal of Hollert and his colleagues is to initially develop chemically-defined nutrient solutions without any animal components for cell cultures, which can then be used in toxicological test procedures. The aim in a further stage is to ensure that the enzyme cocktail, which is gained from the animal’s liver cell tissue, can be replaced.
The research team not only includes scientists from the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main and the TBG LOEWE Centre, but also researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig as well as two companies: BiodetectionsSystems based in Amsterdam and Scinora in Hamburg.