Taking prescription drugs during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn child. Therefore, identifying the embryotoxic potential of a new drug candidate is an essential part of any preclinical study. These studies are currently conducted in animals according to OECD guidelines.
In Europe, 11 Million animals are tested annually. About 50 percent of these tests are performed to explore the bone harming and thus the embryotoxic potential of such drug candidates. Dr. Nicole zur Nieden, leader of the stem cell group at the Fraunhofer Institute, is developing a method to identify the bone harming potential in vitro.
This shall be enabled by simulating and monitoring the multi-phase differentiation process of pluripotent stem cells in a controlled bioreactor system. By adding compounds with known in vivo osteotoxic potential, adverse effects on the differentiation will be identified. Non human embryonic primate stem cells will be compared to human progenitor cells to study varying molecular reactions compared to the established test organisms (mice).
DASGIP, leading manufacturer of parallel bioreactor systems, will contribute its bioreactor system to the project. Through further improvements Dr. Matthias Arnold, CSO DASGIP, and the scientists at the Fraunhofer IZI plan to establish and automate a multi-step cultivation process covering the different phases of differentiating stem cells in drug testing.
The German government subsidizes the research project, acting on behalf of international organizations such as OECD and the EU. Since 1986 the EU commission has stressed its interest in new methods to minimize, replace or optimize animal testing. Recently, the demand to accelerate these processes has been increasing due to the EU Cosmetics and Chemicals Legislation and the desire to avoid complications associated with drug development. To date, only the embryonic stem cell test (EST) could prove as reliable ex vivo alternative to animal testing, which builds the basis for the planned improvements. The EU commission will publish its new ideas on how to reduce the need for animal testing and how to promote alternative methods sometime in April.
Not only politicians, but also industry representatives strongly appreciate the development of alternative methods as it can make drug development and approval faster and more cost-effective: In contrast to existing processes the stem cell approach promoted by Fraunhofer IZI is characterized by a high predictability for human effects, by cost-efficiency and by short testing periods. Therefore, Thomas Drescher, President of DASGIP, looks forward to providing the industry with a bioreactor system, which could help replacing up to 50 percent of the animal tests required in bone toxicity test for drugs, chemicals, plant protecting agents and cosmetics.
Further project partners are the ZEBET - Centre for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternatives to Animal Experiments - at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/1591) and the contract research organization RCC Ltd. (www.rccltd.ch).
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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