Research in Analyst is highly commended in prize for animal replacement in research

26 February 2013

A technology published in RSC journal Analyst has been highly commended in an international prize for scientific advances that reduce testing on animals.

The annual 3Rs Prize, awarded by the UK's National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), recognises the most promising technological developments to replace, reduce or refine the use of animals in scientific research and testing.

A three-dimensional (3D) cell culture developed by Professor Shuichi Takayama from the University of Michigan, USA, which was published in Analyst in 2011, was highly commended for demonstrating the potential to replace and reduce the use of animals in pharmaceutical testing. 

Standard two-dimensional (2D) 'flat' cell cultures are poor at predicting clinical responses to drugs in humans because human physiology is 3D in nature. 

3D cell cultures are more effective at mimicking the behaviour of human physiological tissues and can be used instead of animal models for testing. However, 3D cell cultures are more complicated, cumbersome and expensive to use than 2D cultures.

Professor Takayama and colleagues developed a 'hanging drop' culture plate that makes the formation and subsequent drug testing on the 3D cell culture as straightforward to perform and adapt to high-throughput screening as conventional 2D cell cultures. 

The scientists were able to show that this technology is more effective for testing the effects of anti-cancer drugs than the standard 2D cell cultures.

Professor Paul Matthews, Vice President, Integrative Medicines Development at GlaxoSmithKline, who sponsored the prize, said: "The quality of the submissions this year highlights success in embedding the 3Rs principles in research across the globe. This competition illustrates well how innovative science is being translated rapidly into approaches that can both advance the 3Rs agenda and further develop biomedical science for improved human health."

Related Links

Link icon Analyst paper
High-throughput 3D spheroid culture and drug testing using a 384 hanging drop array

Link icon NC3Rs
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is an independent scientific organisation tasked by Government to drive and fund innovation and technological developments that replace or reduce the need for animals in research and testing.

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