Thursday, 30 June 2011 18:27

"...In all its complexity the animal is a black-box..." Featured

About the animal protection research award of Rhineland-Palatinate at 30th june 2011

For the third time, the state Rhineland-Palatine has awarded the price for the promotion of research into replacement and supplement to animal experiments. This year the expert jury has voted for the research group´s works of Prof. Dr. Claus-Michael Lehr, Dr. Eva-Maria Collnot and Fransisca Leonard from the University of the Saar, Department Pharmacy, Biopharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology and from the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutial Research Saarland (HIPS), Department Drug Delivery.

On 30th of June the three price winners got awarded for their project “„A three-dimensional coculture of enterocytes, monocytes and dendritic cells to model inflamed intestinal mucosa in vitro”. It deal with the development of an in vitro-coculture system consists of an enterocyte cell line (CaCo-2) and the generation of a process of intestinal inflammation for the study of alterations of the cell barriere properties after addition of for instance pharmaceuticals.

With an introduction the office manager of the environment ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr. Erwin Manz informed that animal protection is a major concern of the state government. Animal experiments should get more reduced, especially by the funding of alternative methods. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the current numbers of laboratory animals were stagnating. At this time, 117,144 animals were used in this state, for this reason, alternatives have to be found and their application has to be accelerated. The price should be " advocate to strengthen research on this field". Futhermore, it was said, as Rhineland-Palatinate "...was a small contry, that applications for the price from other contrie`s researchers are allowed.

Dr. Erwin Manz, office manager of the Environment Ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Photo: Christiane Hohensee

In her speech, Dr. Christiane Baumgartl-Simons from the regional Association People for Animal Rights Rhineland-Palatinate and jury member praised the scientists whose "...set out to develope animal-free methods, since in vitro-methods have the potential for elegant, powerful and ethical unencumbered scientific methods which also exclude  - in the opposite to animal models - species-caused differences in the pathogenesis." By this means scientists with ambitions and visions were rare in the current research landscape.

Upper image: Dr. Baumgartl-Simons, Dr. Erwin Manz, Mrs. Müller-Taschinski, Mr. Manfred Braun (Head of Public Relations of Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research) and Prof. Dr. Claus-Michael Lehr.
lower image: Prof. Dr. Claus-Michael Lehr.
Photo: Christiane Hohensee

In his acceptance speech Prof. Claus-Michael Lehr said the research group were glad in the price. The award were a motivation s that the method will find the way into free economy as quick as possible. At the same time he praised his team: "The reason for such a result is a good functionating team". Little pressure caused by the animal protection law to search for alternatives is also a stimulus for the science. "In all its complexity the animal is a black-box", a reduction and a simplification is reasonable if it comes to biological barriers. In the opposite to an animal experiment with a new developed method one cannot only say THAT it works, but HOW it works.


From left to right: Manfred Braun, Fransisca Leonard, Prof. Dr. Claus-Michael Lehr, Dr. Eva-Maria Collnot, Dr. Christiane Baumgartl-Simons and Dr. Christiane Hohensee.
Photo: Mr. Hirsch, Environment Ministry Rhineland-Palatinate.