Lord Dowding Fund for humane research


National Antivisection Society

Research Without Animals Update Spring 2012

12 July 2012


New model for breast cancer research

The Lord Dowding Fund has teamed up with researchers at the University of Leeds on a ground breaking, all human model of breast cancer. Our primary aim is to validate two in vitro models – a 3D cell culture model and a tissue slice model.

The 3D cell culture model is the first to contain the 3 major epithelial (lining) and stromal (connective and supporting) components of the breast. The human breast tumour tissue slice model will allow validation of the 3D culture model, ensuring that it retains characteristics representative of the original tumour.

Data produced so far has been encouraging, and confirms that the 3D model is a good representation of living breast tissue. The team has also obtained samples of both normal and tumour containing breast tissue, and successfully cultured the samples for up to 7 days. These in turn have been treated with different doses of three breast cancer drugs – tamoxifen, doxorubicin and exemestane.

Dr Valerie Speirs, who leads the team at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (LIMM), part of the University’s School of Medicine, said: “We are very grateful for the grant from the LDF which has enabled us to carry out this important work. Breast cancer is a complex disease with several different molecular alterations involved in its development and progression, so we need a comprehensive approach and look to ultimately improve the efficacy of target-based therapy in breast cancer. We are excited about this project, which cannot easily or accurately be replicated in animal models, and are very happy to support the ethos of the LDF.”

These models will be validated against published data, to show that they are viable replacements for animals. Moving medical research towards these advanced methods is good for people and animals, this project highlights the vital role our LDF plays in developing modern research techniques.


Europe’s first paediatric MEG scanner

A brain scanner specifically for children – currently one of only three in the world – forms part of pioneering new research facilities at Aston University in Birmingham. The Aston Brain Centre (ABC), which opened in October, brings together a unique suite of equipment and facilities for brain research, from child development to ageing, all with support from the LDF.

The Centre specialises in areas including epilepsy, dyslexia, autism, ADHD, sleeping disorders and metabolic disease. The ABC will also provide a referral service for the National Health Service (NHS), providing innovative diagnostic services unavailable within the NHS. Speaking at the launch, Director Professor Paul Furlong, said: “Aston University has a 40-year track record of research leadership in the study of brain development and imaging. Our team of scientists will be working to understand how the brain works in health and disease, using the latest technology to study all aspects of brain function throughout a person’s life from individual brain cells through to the whole brain.”

New Science

The latest issue of New Science, the magazine of the Lording Fund for Humane Research, is available now, with news of our current research projects and the latest developments in non-animal research techniques and projects. New Science is sent to all LDF contributors but is also available on request to NAVS and ADI supporters.

If you would like a free copy please call 020 7630 3340.

© National Anti-Vivisection Society