On October 20th the Luxembourg Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture & Rural Development, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Higher Education and Research hosted the second national 3R Symposium, focused on the principles of reducing, refining, and replacing animal studies in scientific research.
The NORLUX Neuro-Oncology group of the Dept. of Cancer Research at the LIH actively participated in the symposium. Anais Oudin, research engineer and animal expert, was involved in the organization of the event and research engineer Eliane Klein gave a talk on how to reduce animals in brain cancer research via ex vivo patient-derived organoids. Such organoids are used for extensive pre-clinical drug testing and functional studies and NORLUX is currently further developing protocols to better reconstruct the tumor microenvironment. These involve co-culturing the organoids with immune cells, which allows the group to test novel immunotherapies directly in patient analogs.
Furthermore, PhD student Pilar Moreno Sanchez won the 3R poster prize, where she presented refinement strategies that NORLUX have developed over the years to improve animal welfare in brain cancer research. These included improvements in surgical procedures, the use of MRI, and detailed scoresheets that track animal welfare metrics and ensure early detection of symptoms.
The Ministers themselves were present at the symposium and stressed the importance of minimizing the use of animals in scientific research via replacement with other methods. The Luxembourg government also issued a press release in French regarding the content of the symposium and their overall strategy for further implementation of the 3 R’s in scientific research.
Congratulations to Pilar and the team for their prize!