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Award for Alternatives to Animal Experiments

Berlin “Research Award for Alternatives to Animal Experiments” for Projects at Technische Universität Berlin and Charité

News from Dec 13, 2019

Dr. Johanna Berg and Prof. Dr. Jens Kurreck of Technische Universität Berlin as well as Dr. Annemarie Lang and Dr. Rainald Ehrig from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have received the Berlin “Research Award for Alternatives to Animal Experiments.”

The award, endowed with a total of 40,000 euros, is presented every two years by the Berlin Senate Department for Justice, Consumer Protection, and Anti-Discrimination together with the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (LAGeSo) and the vfa. Die forschenden Pharma-Unternehmen association of research-based pharmaceutical companies. Funding is provided for research projects in Berlin or Brandenburg that contribute to the development of alternative and supplementary methods to animal use in research and education. This year, the award money will go equally to the selected projects.

Dr. Johanna Berg and Prof. Dr. Jens Kurreck from the Institute of Biotechnology at Technische Universität Berlin received the award for their project “3D Biodruck von Organmodellen in Forschung und Lehre.” They have succeeded in creating three-dimensional organ models for the lungs and liver using bio-print techniques and infecting them with influenza viruses (lungs) and adenoviruses (liver) in the laboratory. They anticipate that according to this “proof of principle,” the model can be used to develop new antiviral substances.

The project “The virtual joint – In vitro and in silico modelling of degenerative and inflammatory joint diseases” of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Zuse Institute Berlin has also received the award. Dr. Annemarie Lang works at the Medical Clinic of Charité with a focus on rheumatology and clinical immunology. Dr. Rainald Ehrig works both at Zuse Institute Berlin and at Julius Wolff Institute for Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Regeneration at Charité. With their research team, they succeeded in reproducing cartilage alterations in a cell culture model and a computer model. They are now working on simulating entire joints in their models, so that arthrosis can be simulated as well as rheumatoid arthritis and potential therapies can be tested. The working group expects its model to be able to reduce the number of laboratory animals in the future and to improve the transferability of research findings to humans.

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