Lord Dowding Fund for humane research


National Antivisection Society

New human model for cancer research unveiled

31 January 2012


‘Providing a viable replacement for animal testing’

The LDF has teamed up with researchers at the University of Leeds to work on a ground breaking, novel, all human model of breast cancer.

The primary aim of the project is to validate two in vitro models - a 3D cell culture model and a tissue slice model.

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

Data produced so far by the team at Leeds 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 two common breast cancer drugs.

Dr Valerie Speirs, who heads up 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 therefore need to adopt 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.”

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of the LDF said: “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."

“For almost thirty years, the LDF has supported and promoted the replacement of the use of animals in research, and we need to raise further funds throughout 2012 to continue this important work.”


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