13.5 million euros for hDMT INFRA StemCells

National infrastructure to implement new organ and disease models using human stem cells

Researchers from University Medical Centers in Leiden, Utrecht and Rotterdam in the Netherlands jointly affiliated with the “Institute for human organ and Disease Model Technologies (hDMT),” intend to develop new organ and disease models using human stem cells. This is expected to provide much better insight into the response of the human body to therapy in the future.

Led by principal investigator Christine Mummery of Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij (managing director hDMT), this hDMT partnership has been awarded a grant of almost 13.5 million euros from the National Roadmap Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). This funding will be used to establish a national state-of-the-art infrastructure, hDMT INFRA StemCells, that will provide support in setting up and conducting studies on stem cells to all researchers across the Netherlands and beyond.

Combining human stem cells in one disease model

There are currently two main types of human stem cells, adult stem cells (ASCs) and “human induced pluripotent stem cells” (hiPSCs). Both types have strengths and shortcomings. According to hDMT INFRA StemCell researchers, some shortcomings can be overcome by combining these stem cell types. “This makes it possible to develop new and better organ and disease models that can accurately mimic the pathology and physiology of the human body,” said Christine Mummery. “Thanks to these models, we expect better understanding of how healthy- and diseased-tissues function and how effective new drugs might be as therapies.”

Accessible stem cell infrastructure

Thanks to the NWO contribution and the collaboration between the UMCs and hDMT, this will be the first large-scale facility combining hiPSCs and ASCs in single disease models without immune barriers.  According to Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij, such a national infrastructure should accelerate the ability of researchers to implement this technology. “The uniqueness of hDMT INFRA StemCells, which is coordinated by hDMT, is that it makes the necessary expertise and (stem cell) facilities of the participating organizations widely available to users from both universities and industry.” Joost Gribnau (Erasmus MC): “One of the main goals of hDMT INFRA StemCells is to further increase the reliability of stem cell models through standardization using robotics and automation. In addition, (hands-on) training for different target groups will be provided.”

Personalized disease treatments

With the knowledge gained from the organ and disease models, scientists can test and develop new drugs or gene therapies in the future. The models will also contribute to major developments in the field of (personalized) disease treatments. More knowledge on how disease affects specific tissues in the human body is essential. Instead of treating symptoms, the actual causes of diseases can be addressed much more specifically. “This new infrastructure makes it possible to search for drugs that act on the underlying causes of diseases much more efficiently but also makes it possible to test whether drugs do or do not work for patients even before they are treated,” said Jeffrey Beekman (UMC Utrecht).

More information about the other grant awards on the NWO website.

300 million euros for a new international stem cell consortium

A grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation of up to 300 million euro now enables the establishment of a major international research center focused on stem cell medicine. The center will be a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia, and Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. The partnership between these three world-leading research institutions will pave the way for future stem cell-based treatments.

Read more here:

EMA implements new measures to minimise animal testing during medicines development

EMA is putting in place special support to developers to replace, reduce and refine animal use for the development, manufacturing and testing of human and veterinary medicines. The Agency is promoting these three principles — replace, reduce and refine; commonly referred to as 3Rs — through EMA’s Innovation Task Force (ITF). This action will facilitate the development and implementation of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) that are in line with the European Union legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

More information see the EMA website.

Source: https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/ema-implements-new-measures-minimise-animal-testing-during-medicines-development


EUROoCS for and by members

EUROoCS is a growing society with currently 500 members from 32 different countries. Time to redefine the strategy and look ahead to the coming years. Together with the strategy consultancy Change21 a strategic plan was developed using the outcome of the results of a survey among the EUROoCS members, interviews with the backoffice and online field research. Based on this plan an action plan is now being developed, including the next steps towards: 

– a clear and future-proof Mission and Vision
– (multi)-annual plan with clear goals and evaluation
– stronger member engagement
– more events and activities
– clear communication strategy (website, social media, newsletter)
– visibility and balanced representation of national networks
– fundraising strategy
– supportive back office

The EUROoCS Board will seek advice from the IAB and RAB for working out this action plan further. Different committees, such as an event committee, dissemination/outreach committee, training committee and fundraising committee, will be set up and chaired by EUROoCS Board members, with strong involvement of the EUROoCS members.


Prestigious Lefoulon-Delalande prize for Christine Mummery

Congratulations to professor Christine Mummery from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands who is co-recipient of the 2021 Scientific Grand Prize from the Lefoulon-Delalande Foundation of the Institut de France. The second laureate is professor Gordon Keller from the McEwen Stem Cell Institute and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Canada. Continue reading “Prestigious Lefoulon-Delalande prize for Christine Mummery”

Dutch Organ-on-Chip project receives huge grant to make the leap from lab to fab

NWO, the Dutch Research Council, has awarded a Perspective grant of 4.8 million euros for a Dutch multidisciplinary consortium, led by Eindhoven University of Technology professor Jaap den Toonder to develop much-needed universal standard for the pharmaceutical industry.

A visual representation of one tissue chip of skin and hair and two engineering chips, which are precisely clicked onto the ‘docking’ plate and to each other. Picture: hDMT

Scientists are pushing ahead building ‘organ-on-chips’, small chips with human cells, which are useful, for example, for studying cancerous metastases in the bloodstream or the development of scar tissue, or for testing the effect of drugs or food outside a human body. To make the step to industry, a collective of dozens of research groups, companies and knowledge institutions, brought together by the Dutch organ-on-chip consortium hDMT, are building a universal standard, supported by a NWO Perspective grant of nearly five million euros. The ultimate goal in the future: to link multiple organ chips together to simulate a whole body.

The Dutch organ-on-chip consortium hDMT brought the following partners together for this NWO Perspective program: Amsterdam UMC/VUmc, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, UMC Utrecht, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Twente University, Wageningen University & Research, 300MICRONS, Applikon, BioLamina, Convergence, Demcon, dsRAT Stichting Proefdiervrij, Galapagos, Genmab, Hy2Care, IBA Lifesciences, ibidi, Life Science Methods, LipoCoat, Micronit Microtechnologies, OnePlanet Research Center/imec, Poietis, PolyVation, provio, Qurin Diagnostics, ReumaNederland, RIVM, Spektrax, TissUse, TNO, Unilever Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre, Ushio INC.

For more information see here

EUROoC Virtual lab tour in 11 laboratories

15 PhD students give you a virtual lab tour in 11 laboratories involved in the EUROoC International Training Network, where  they are working on finding alternatives to reduce animal testing.

You are guided through the processes of building and setting-up an Organ-on-Chip experiment for in vitro modeling and drug screening.
For the video and more information about the network please visit the EUROoC website: https://www.eurooc.eu/research/#projects.

Stem Cell Reports “home” journal for EUROoCS


The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and the European Organ-on-Chip Society (EUROoCS) are pleased to announce an agreement that will have Stem Cell Reports, the ISSCR’s online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal, serve as the “home” journal for EUROoCS member publications that focus on the use and application of stem cells. This alliance will help bridge the bioengineering and stem cell communities to enhance the development of technologies, the sharing and application of discovery and ultimately lead to a better understanding of human health and the treatment of disease.

“Stem Cell Reports is excited to partner with EUROoCS to provide a first-class venue for outstanding studies that use stem cells or their derivatives in Organ-on-Chip and microphysiological systems. This is an exciting emerging area of interdisciplinary research that is building the next generation of powerful stem cell modeling tools for the study of human development, physiology and disease.” Martin Pera, Editor-in-Chief, Stem Cell Reports

“EUROoCS is delighted to have Stem Cell Reports as “home” for papers from its members using Organ-on-Chip and Microphysiological systems to create more predictive models of human tissue based on stem cells. These bioengineered models capture organ physiology beyond the state-of-the art by mimicking complex multi-cell type structures in a microphysiological environment that includes vascular-like perfusion and tissue biomechanics. Partnering with the ISSCR’s premier stem cell journal Stem Cell Reports will provide new perspectives for both EUROoCs and ISSCR members as well as a broader readership to advance understanding of human health and disease.” the EUROoCS Board

EUROoCS Industrial Advisory Board installed

Since June 1st 2020 EUROoCS has implemented an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), consisting of six members from important industrial stakeholders and chaired by Thomas Singer from Roche.

The IAB advises the EUROoCS Board on translational aspects and industrial adoption of the technology. Among other tasks, the IAB will scout for new relationships for EUROoCS among companies in order to catalyse greater industry involvement and collaboration in research activities.
The IAB will support the EUROoCS community in strengthening science and technology and promoting the acceptance of Organ-on-Chip technology by the health authorities. Members are appointed for three years and are eligible for re-appointment for another three years.

During the EUROoCS 2020 conference, Christine Mummery introduced the members and mentioned that their input and advice in promoting the visibility and utility of Organ-on-Chip, in many facets of the life sciences and engineering, is highly appreciated.

The members of the IAB are:

Thomas Singer (Chair)
Global Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences/ Senior Vice President
Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development
Roche Innovation Center Basel, Basel Switzerland

Lisa Benincosa
Global Head of Translational Medicine
Merck KGaA
Darmstadt, Germany

Eckhard von Keutz
Senior Vice President and Head of Translational Sciences
Bayer AG
Research & Development, Pharmaceuticals
Translational Sciences
Wuppertal, Germany

Jochen Kühnl
Lab Manager
Representative Cosmetics Europe
Beiersdorf, Hamburg, Germany

Bennard Ravenzwaay
Senior Vice President
BASF SE, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany

Armin Wolf
Chief Scientific Officer InSphero AG, Schlieren, Switzerland
Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Department of
Chemistry, Kaiserslautern, Germany


Queen Mary opens Organs-on-Chips Centre for advancements in medical research and drug development

The new ‘Queen Mary – Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre‘ will use Organs-on-Chips to recreate the human biology of different organs by incorporating the appropriate types of cells and tissues cultured under continuous fluid flow and mechanical forces, such as cyclic breathing and peristalsis, which create the microenvironment experience by cells in the body.

Organs-on-Chips research offers the potential to improve the testing of new drugs or therapies to predict their safety and efficacy in the human body. These living, microengineered systems also offer the potential to reduce the reliance on animal testing and enhance understanding of disease mechanisms in the development of new medicines.

Queen Mary has established the Centre in partnership with Emulate, Inc., a U.S.-based company that is on the leading-edge with a portfolio of Organs-on-Chips products and lab-ready systems for use by researchers worldwide.

The Centre will provide access to Emulate’s Organs-on-Chips technology to enable researchers to develop organ models of their design for use in a wide variety of experiments and drug development programmes. It will also provide opportunities for collaboration with Emulate and support for commercialisation and translational impact.

For more information see the Press Release here.

Source: Press Release