Spontaneously beating human cardiac microtissue scoops 3Rs poster prize

Research to develop a human cardiac microtissue model that beats spontaneously has won first place in last week's joint NC3Rs and Society of Biology symposium on 3Rs advances.

Miss Stephanie Ravenscroft, MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science at the University of Liverpool, and AstraZeneca, was awarded £1000 for the research, which may provide a human relevant model to replace the use of dog cardiomyocytes in functional contractility assays to investigate cardiotoxicity. Cardiotoxicity is a major cause of drug withdrawal from the market and of attrition during drug development.

Judges representing both academia and industry awarded Miss Ravenscroft with the annual prize due to her enthusiasm and eloquent communication of the research, which will help to drive its uptake. The poster also demonstrated validation and use of the model in practice with several key compounds.

The poster was one of 28 presented by researchers at this year's symposium, which was attended by over 150 delegates and themed around maximising information from mouse models and new techniques to reduce or replace the use of animals in research.

Two runners-up were each awarded prizes of £500:

  • Dr Eric Fernandez, Physiomics plc, for developing an in silico "virtual tumour" to aid with and accelerate the design of optimal drug schedules. This dramatically reduces the number of animal experiments required for validation in vivo.
  • Miss Kate Sessford an undergraduate student at University of Nottingham, for research to develop an ex vivo organ culture model to test for vaccines for ovine foot rot.

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