Impact story

Complex cell systems to reduce and refine animal experiments

There is an increasing demand to reduce and refine animal experiments. Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) is developing various complex cell models that can mimic tissues or organs of different animal species.

Such complex cell models can be, for instance, slices of tissues that are kept alive (ex vivo), lung tissue that differentiates with contact to air on one side and liquid on the other, or “mini organs” (organoids) that are grown in 3D in the lab.

Infographic: Complex cell systems for animal research (click to enlarge)
Infographic: Complex cell systems for animal research (click to enlarge)

Reducing animal testing

These models are composed of a heterogenous pool of primary cells that are representative of the in vivo cell composition. Experiments can be done fast and relatively cheap and even different genetic backgrounds or animal breeds can be tested. While these complex cell models still require an initial donor animal, they substantially reduce the number of experimental animals needed. This is because several different compounds or conditions can be tested with a single donor. Moreover, animals do not need to be infected with a pathogen.

By using complex cell models for preclinical research, we reduce and refine animal experiments

Bridging the gap

By using complex cell models for preclinical research, we try to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo data, while substantially reducing and refining animal experiments.