NIH to invest increased in NAMs

Tuesday, 13 February 2024 12:37

Last week, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, accepted the Advisory Committee's to consider approaches that use new alternative methods in biomedical and behavioral research.

At the end of January, French in vitro neuroscientist Dr. Alexandra Benchoua was honored for her development of an animal-free method that can be used to investigate neurological and psychiatric diseases such as autistic spectrum disorders and to find treatment options.

Scientists from the Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Gene Therapy at Freiburg University Medical Center, led by Prof. Toni Cathomen, have received funding of around €1.17 million as part of the British "Crack it" Challenge. The team is researching an innovative, animal-free approach to the safety assessment of modern cancer therapies.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB has developed an in vitro dog skin model that can be used to test medical therapeutics for the treatment of canine skin diseases.

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is offering an Austria-wide funding program for research into alternative methods to animal testing using resources from the Austrian Ministry of Science. The aim is to accelerate the establishment of alternative methods based on the 3Rs principle.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has commissioned a consortium with the participation of BASF SE to scientifically investigate the reliability and relevance of new technologies as alternatives to animal testing, so-called New Approach Methodologies (NAMs), and to promote their use in the future. NAMs include in-vitro models, computer methods and omics techniques (genetic analyses of the entire genome, all expressed proteins of a cell and metabolic functions).

As announced by the 3R Center Tübingen on LinkedIN, the renowned scientist for organ-on-chip research at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and NMI Reutlingen, Prof. Peter Loskill, has been appointed to the Permanent Senate Commission for Animal Experimental Research of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The European Animal Testing Directive and the EU Chemicals Regulation (REACH) require that animal testing to assess possible toxicity to humans should only be carried out as a last resort. An association of representatives from industry and non-governmental organizations has discovered that these requirements are not being seriously implemented, resulting in countless animal experiments.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Konstanze Winklhofer from the Ruhr University Bochum has discovered that the protein NEMO, which is known amongst other things for its role in the innate immune system, has an important function in labeling protein aggregates in the brain to prevent harmful deposits such as those that occur in Parkinson's disease.

By using mass spectrometry to study the proteome in the spinal fluid of Alzheimer's patients, scientist Betty Tijms and her colleagues from the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC and the University of Maastricht have discovered that there are five different subtypes of Alzheimer's disease. Understanding this heterogeneity is crucial for the development of Alzheimer's drugs.