The Non-Animal Technologies Special Interest Group (NAT SIG), in collaboration with the NC3Rs, the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst held a workshop in April 2015 to explore the application of cutting edge cell and tissue-based technologies in drug discovery. The workshop report has now been published and covers four priority areas that were showcased at the workshop.
These include the application of cell and tissue-based technologies in (i) biologic development, (ii) cardiovascular toxicity assessment of small molecules, (iii) current approaches for modelling kidney toxicity and (iv) immune reactions caused by cell and gene therapies.
The report highlights the importance of capitalising on the world-leading UK environment in this area and the investment in realistic, tractable problems that can be solved together by the community. The recommendations include the need to continue with responsive and flexible funding sources to nurture long-term partnerships between large pharma, academia, SMEs and contract research organisations so that the technology pipeline can be supported at all stages.
Commenting on the publication, Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Director of UK Regenerative Medicine Hub in Acellular Materials, said ‘The workshop provided a unique opportunity for collaboration between the host organisations who will continue to work together to consider the recommendations in the report. Scientists from the UK Regenerative Medicine Hubs, the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, SMEs and large pharmaceutical companies were able to come together and discuss the challenges they face when applying cell and tissue-based technologies in key priority areas that currently rely heavily on animal models. The report describes some tractable problems and a strategy to overcome them in the foreseeable future'.
This project links and will input into a number of other NC3Rs programmes, for example, the 3Rs in pharmaceutical, chemical and consumer product development and open innovation (CRACK IT).