Public-private partnership is vital if we want to improve the quality of research without the need for animal experiments. But how does such a public-private partnership work? How can you strengthen each other’s interests? And what do you need to ensure that the collaboration leads to a successful animal-free innovation? We will discuss this in the afternoon of 27 May at the University Utrecht. The meeting is organised in collaboration with U-AIM.


After introductions by Jos Malda (U-AIM, Utrecht University) and Erica van Oort (ZonMw) Evita van de Steeg (TNO), Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University) and Teun de Boer (UMC Utrecht) will present their research projects together with representatives of their consortium partners and stakeholders. Sharp questions by Eveline van Rijswijk, chair of the day, will give direction to the discussion.
Registration: send an email to mentioning ‘MKMD on TOUR 27-05’.

Detailed Programme (13.00 – 16.30 h):

Chair of the day: Eveline van Rijswijk

The Utrecht Advanced In vitro Models hub

Introduction by prof. Jos Malda (Utrecht University)
How can the creation, application and valorisation of state-of-the-art in vitro models be improved leading to the reduction of animal experimentation?

More Research with Fewer Animals

Introduction by dr. Erica van Oort (ZonMw)
ZonMw’s programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals aims to develop new innovations free of animal testing and to encourage the use of existing innovations that do not use animal testing. Several calls for proposals are open for applications.

VitalTissue - enabling innovation in biomedical science by supplying redundant vital human tissue for research

Dr. Evita van de Steeg (TNO) and representatives of the consortium partners
We are preparing a platform that will supply redundant human tissues to end user laboratories in a (financial) sustainable and transparent way. For this, we will address the legal, ethical and logistic restrictions that may hamper the supply chain. The framework for the long-term qualification of suppliers and end users will be developed to warrant regulatory compliance and biosafety. We will examine options for sample specification (tissue and donor inclusion criteria), logistics, tissue quality preservation, and information management. We involve societal stakeholders and high level public information on the development of the vital tissue supply chain.

Integrating mechanisms and quantitative in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (QIVIVE) modelling for risk assessment based on in vitro testing (Risk-IT)

Dr. Nynke Kramer (Utrecht University) and representatives of the consortium partners
Risk-IT integrates expert knowledge gained from previous systems toxicology projects with innovative in vitro data generation technologies (High Content Screening, Metabolomics) and reverse physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling. The aim is to address the unmet need for non-animal based approaches to predict repeated-dose systemic toxicity. We focus on kidney toxicity as an exemplary area and key target organ of chemical-/drug-induced toxicity.

Hybrid biological – mathematical models of human cardiomyocytes

Dr. Teun de Boer (UMC Utrecht) and dr. András Horvath (Nanion Technologies GmBH, München, Duitsland)
Drugs can disturb heart rhythm, which may lead to lethal cardiac arrhythmias. We are developing hybrid models to test whether a candidate drug is likely to cause problems. Human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are a promising pre-clinical model, but lack a mature “heart rhythm”. In our hybrid models, human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are coupled experimentally to simulations of an ion channel that is missing from these cells, but is present in adult cardiomyocytes. Together, UMCU and Nanion are working on implementation of this technique in medium- and high-throughput electrophysiology equipment made by Nanion.

Panel discussion with the speakers, chaired by Eveline van Rijswijk


More Knowledge with Fewer Animals on Tour is organised by ZonMw in collaboration with the U-AIM hub of Utrecht University. More Knowledge with Fewer Animals is a research programme of ZonMw.

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