CRACK IT Challenge Award for the Dept. of Pharmacology-Toxicology

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The NC3Rs awarded Martijn Wilmer, Roos Masereeuw and Tom Nieskens from the Dept. of Pharmacology-Toxicology with the CRACK IT Challenge NephroTube to develop a microfluidic device to screen for drug-induced nephrotoxicity. The goal of the NephroTube is to reduce animal experiments by using a human cell-based microfluidic renal system, that will decrease late attrition of compounds due to nephrotoxicity during drug development. In a consortium with Mimetas BV and the Swiss FHNW, the team will build a kidney-on-a-chip by culturing the human renal cell line ciPTEC in tubular structures using the microfluidic device Organoplate. The platform is compatible with high-throughput screening devices to study renal transport function and detect drug-induced nephrotoxicity. Improved prediction of nephrotoxicity in early stages of drug development by human cell-based models can reduce and/or refine animal experiments.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is a UK-based independent scientific organisation funding innovative and technological developments that replace or reduce the need for animals in research and testing. In the CRACK IT Challenge NephroTube, four teams were awarded earlier with a proof-of-concept study and went head-to-head in a 'Dragons' Den-style interview in London. The Challenge Panel selected the team of Wilmer to receive the Phase 2 research contract of € 1.3 Million, sponsored by Roche, GSK and Pfizer.

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