Grants totalling £577,687 for research into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, oesophageal cancer, brain tumours and toxicology testing have been awarded to five universities in England and Scotland by The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT), the charity that promotes the development of alternatives to animal studies in biomedical science.

The dual objective of the grants is to further the understanding and treatment of life-threatening diseases while developing innovative methods to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.  

“The potential number of animals to be saved from invasive and painful procedures as a result of the success of these projects is immeasurable,” the DHT said.

The five research projects in outline are:

•    Understanding better the role of proteins in development and cell function to enhance the characterisation and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (Royal Holloway University).

•    Advancing the use of plant cells to emulate the development of Parkinson’s disease in human cells (Westminster University).  

•    A three dimensional cell model enabling the study of Barrett’s oesophagus and its progression to cancer (Dundee University).

•    Generating human liver cells from pluripotent human stem cells to replace animals in toxicology testing (Edinburgh University).

•    Using a 3D blood-brain barrier model to identify nanoparticle systems with potential as drug carriers in combating brain tumours and other neurological diseases (Portsmouth University).  

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