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Leukaemia - Validation of iPSCs as an acceptable alternative model for pre-clinical drug screening in haematological malignancies

This project aims to assess the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as a relevant model system for the pre-clinical testing of novel therapies to target cancer stem cells, especially in leukaemia. Currently, scientists rely on animals, such as mice, for the early or preclinical development of novel therapies in cancer.Read more

Edentulousness - Developing a 3D organotypical model to assess skin and gum penetrating implant soft tissue outcomes and implant device development

The project’s objectives are to replace animal use in dental research by developing a 3D model of human gums that do not involve the use of any animal products. The model should be able to closely mimic the in vivo environment and model clinical outcomes for tooth root implants in vitro.Read more

Toxicology - Further developments of epithelial cell models with realistic basement membranes for drug transport and toxicology studies

The team aim to produce a much more realistic cell culture model of drug uptake so that fewer animal experiments are needed, with the ultimate aim being to replace these altogether. Animal experiments for drug testing range from in vitro cell assays through to assays on excised animal tissue and chronic experiments in surgically modified dogs.Read more

Quantum dots - Multivalent quantum dot non-antibody binding protein imaging probes

This project is developing novel, sensitive and animal-free cancer imaging probes as an effective replacement for antibody-based diagnostic reagents widely used in clinical laboratories. At present, most current clinical cancer diagnostic reagents are antibody based and rely on the use of animals. Antibodies are generated by injecting a specific target antigen into an animal host, which includes mice, rats, rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens or horses.Read more

Chronic kidney disease - Imaging of intrarenal haemodynamics, oxygen metabolism and fibrosis

Dr Francis and her team have developed MRI as an alternative to animal techniques to study both the structure and function of healthy and diseased kidneys. Changes in kidney blood oxygenation and blood flow in healthy subjects and CKD patients will be measured using MRI and the findings will be compared with clinical measurements (blood samples and biopsies). Dr Francis aims to investigate whether MRI could be a reliable diagnostic tool for CKD.Read more

Wound healing - High-throughput analysis of synthetic wound healing microenvironment

This project developed an engineered in vitro model of wound healing and then used it to identify the factors that regulate wound closure. It established a novel platform that could replace many mouse studies and improve pre-clinical testing of drugs and therapeutics.Read more

Brain tumours - Identification of common therapeutic targets in schwannomas and meningiomas

This research on schwannomas and meningiomas used a unique human cell culture model using cells derived from surgical patients. This has led to the identification and testing of new, targeted therapies and the team have successfully translated their research into early clinical trials. This approach has allowed them to screen approved drugs directly and go straight into clinical trials, avoiding pre-clinical animal trials.Read more

Medical devices testing and training - Thiel embalmed human cadavers

This pioneering work with the Thiel embalming method will help to teach doctors potentially life-saving surgical interventions such as advanced abdominal aortic stent graft repair without the need to practice these methods on animals such as pigs. Heart, stroke, kidney and liver patients are among those who will benefit directly from the training clinicians will undergo.Read more