Nominations for the Lush Prize 2020 are open

The Lush Prize offers a global prize fund to support initiatives to end or replace animal testing. The prestigious prize fund of at least £250,000 is available across five categories: Lobbying, Training, Public Awareness, Science, and Young Researchers. A sixth category, known as the ‘Black Box’ prize, also provides the possibility of the entire prize fund being awarded to one applicant for a key breakthrough in human toxicity pathways.

All prize categories are open to organisations or individuals in scientific research, industry, academia, public awareness, lobbying, campaigning, education, training and outreach. Entries can be from anywhere in the world, for projects which have taken place anywhere in the world. You can enter yourself or your own organisation.

The closing date for entry is 6th December 2019.

Further information on all award categories or make a nomination.

Science – rewarding research and development of human-relevant approaches in toxicity testing and research
Training – for education and training initiatives in human-relevant methods which replace animal tests
Young Researcher – awards early-career scientists of up to 35 years of age, for future research proposals which focus on human-based methods
Public Awareness – highlighting the ethical and scientific needs for better, human-based safety testing and alternatives to animal research
Lobbying – influencing key stakeholders by working for regulatory and legislative change to promote better scientific methods for humans and animals.
Black Box – for a key breakthrough in human toxicity pathways research.

Source: Lush Prize & hDMT

Planned novel Open Access journal format

A planned novel Open Access journal format that combines for the first time publishing with funding.

Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018 with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC) by an international consortium of research funders. Plan S requires that, from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.

This development requires that – within relatively short time – high impact Plan S compliant Open Access journals become available as alternatives to current subscription based high impact journals.

Towards this goal, a group of European scientists, headed by Stefan Krauss form Oslo and including leading scientists from the European Organ-on-Chip Society (EUROoCS), have joined forces to create a novel experimental Open Access journal format that combines – for the first time – publishing and funding. By combining those two features in one format, the group of scientists hopes to be able to attract potential high impact manuscripts while facilitating and simplifying fund raising. The success of the new format will depend on sponsoring of the funding by research organizations, and on a high scoring editorial board. Ongoing discussions are encouraging.

The journal format is planned to be administrated by a scientist driven non-profit foundation that is responsible for sponsor interface, technology and contingency, while the thematic Open Access journals are planned to be driven by scientific or editorial societies. The specialized journal about Micro Physiological Systems/Organ-on-Chip might become the official journal of EUROoCS.

The flyer shows the details of the planned scheme.

An active Israelian Organ-on-Chip community during one day symposium

On Tuesday 19 March 2019 a one-day Organ-on-Chip symposium was organized by dr. Ben Maoz and dr. Gad Vatine at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel. It was a lively meeting divided in four parts: Cancer/Metabolism, Vasculature, Technologies and Lab on Chip.

Some 150 attendants watched new work presented in oral presentations and posters, illustrating a very active Israelian Organ on Chip community, with strong presence from a.o. Technion and Tau. External speakers were Joshua Owen (Leeds) and Albert van den Berg (UTwente), while also some startup companies participated (Tissue Dynamics).
Worth mentioning are dr. Maria Khoury (Technion) working on Pulmonary Capillary Networks, dr. Ben Maoz (Tau) with BBB-chip work, dr. Ariel Sklanny (Technion) with advanced vessel sprouting and dr. Gilad Yossifon (Technion) with original sperm sorting work as well as advanced Janus particle research. All in all it demonstrated high-level research being performed in the Israelian Organ-on-Chip network.

Source: hDMT

UK Report on accelerating Organ-on-Chip technology development

The NC3Rs, Medicines Discovery Catapult and the University of Liverpool MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science (CDSS) have published a report outlining recommendations to accelerate the adoption of Organ-on-Chip technologies in order to revolutionize drug target identification and validation studies without the need for animals.

This report is the outcome of a workshop that was held in Liverpool in May 2018 with representatives from different stakeholder organizations, setting out opportunities to progress Organ-on-Chip technology within the UK. More

Download the full workshop report here.

National Geographic article on the future of personalized medicine

In their January 2019 edition the National Geographic focused on the future of personalized medicine and how new technologies transform our health care. The article How personalized medicine is transforming your health care, is written from the perspective and expertise of American labs and universities, and with an important role for organ-on-chip technology.

More articles in The Future of Medicine special can be found on the website of National Geographic.

Health EU launches its Manifesto to unify Digital Healthcare in Europe!

Health EU initiative makes important steps towards strategic recognition and launches today its Manifesto.

In a competition with many excellent projects, and, as a result of the 2nd phase evaluation of Coordination and Support Actions for FET Flagships, Health EU was recognized as the leading project on Human Avatars and Digital Healthcare and is currently in a potential position for future funding.

Health EU management is looking with strong conviction into a bright future of an European mission on creating the first European Integrative Human Avatar Platform under the umbrella of Digital Healthcare enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.

Health EU launched the Health EU Manifesto (pdf) to unify all forces in medicine, biology, social sciences and engineering Europe under the visionary concept of Human Avatars for personalized, preventive and participatory healthcare.

Health EU invites all interested universities, research institutes, hospitals, industries and citizen/patient associations and other stakeholders to sign the Manifesto as an expression of direct support!

High level attention for InForMed project in Brussel

On November 27th 2018 the ECSEL Joint Undertaking presented the results of the InForMed project and the Health.E Lighthouse Initiative at the high-level conference “The impact of EU research and innovation in our daily life” in the European Parliament building in Brussels.

One of the SME partners in InForMed, the Organ-on-Chip startup BI/OND, was invited to present their products. The ORCHID project, which participates in the Health.E Lighthouse Initiative, presented its first roadmap report.


LUMC takes the lead in construction of stem cell facility

At the Leiden BioScience Park, the Netherlands, a new high-tech stem cell facility will emerge in the coming years: the NEtherlands Center for the Clinical Advancement of Stemcell Therapies (NECST). Researchers and start-up companies are welcomed here for the development of stem cell and gene therapy products.

NECST is set up by the Leiden Regenerative Medicine Platform (LRMP) and fits well in the collaboration with the Canadian Center for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), where a similar facility is realized. In addition, NECST contributes to the infrastructural strengthening of the strategic public-private partnership RegMed XB (Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders) where Dutch and Flemish partners participate. The NECST will be placed at the Leiden BioScience Park, strengthening the ecosystem of one of the largest Dutch life science cluster.

For more information: LUMC news message (in Dutch).