For the first time, Charité 3R has awarded a prize for the best presentation of a research project. The decisive criteria were the accessibility and intelligibility of the presentation. The award ceremony took place as part of the Charité 3R symposium on February 24th. The audience was also asked to vote.
There are many different approaches to translate the 3R principles Replace – Reduce – Refine into practice. At the symposium on February 24th, 16 study groups were given the opportunity to present their projects, which were funded by Charité 3R, to a broader audience. Eleven projects were presented as a PDF poster in the virtual space and five of them as short videos. The special incentive for all presentations was the poster award endowed with € 150.- The award was given by the Scientific Advisory Board of Charité 3R to a male scientist in the category of “video presentation” and to a female scientist in the category “PDF poster” Additionally, there was an audience poster award.
Neuro paediatrician Prof. Markus Schülke wins the video category
The poster award in the category of video was won by neuro paediatrician Prof. Markus Schülke and his team. In cooperation with stem cell researchers and neuro physiologists, Schülke has developed a human model, which is based on induced pluripotent stem cells. The scientists could prove that their approach showed promise in the case of a 15-year-old, who suffers from the incurable Leigh syndrome and who was, for lack of therapeutic options, already paralysed and in a coma and had to be artificially respirated. The team converted the patient’s own body cells into pluripotent stem cells and eventually into neuronal cells. Potentially effective drugs were then tested on these cells of the central nervous system. The tests proved successful. Thanks to a certain substance, whose name cannot be given due to letters patent, the young man now can sit in a wheelchair and go to school. Poster award winner Markus Schülke says that cells of human origin are the best path to follow when treating humans, adding: “There is not a doubt in my mind that our model can fully replace animal testing.”
Stem cell researcher Dr. Bella Roßbach wins the PDF poster category
Dr. Bella Roßbach, who received the PDF poster award on behalf of her project team, also works with pluripotent stem cells. She is working on acute kidney failure and chronic kidney diseases. Since animal models do not fully represent what is happening in humans suffering from those diseases, the scientists constructed important parts of kidneys with the aid of stem cell technology and 3D bioprinting. It was the team’s goal to model the various functions of kidneys by “printing” a filtration and a resorption unit and then combining them with a perfusion unit. The scientists want to use these small “nephrobricks” measuring 4 x 4 millimetres to do basic research on kidney diseases and to test new therapeutic approaches for them. “All this without any animal testing,” says award winner Bella Roßbach.
Audience award is won by Anna Pascual Reguant
A third award was nominated by the audience. The majority of visitors and guests to the symposium voted for the video presentation of Dr. Anna Pascual Reguant and her team. The young Charité scientist in the field of immunology demonstrated in a video how animal testing can be rendered superfluous with the help of a histological examination method called MELC(multiplex histology). This automated procedure combines data from various imaging techniques and allows for comprehensive cell analyses, from inflamed tissue to auto immune diseases. Where in traditional animal testing 147 mice were needed in microscopy, in the computer-based MELC method a single tissue sample suffices according to the scientists. When accepting the audience award, Anna Pascual Reguant said that “MELC enhances the output from immune fluorescent examinations and thus greatly reduces the extent of animal testing.” This study also illustrates that technological solutions can help reduce animal suffering.
(Text: Beatrice Hamberger)
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