The Gels & Sera working group
To stimulate the development and uptake of non-animal or new approach methods (NAMs), the 3Rs Centre Utrecht (3RCU) facilitates researchers that are willing to innovate. Innovation takes time, money, energy and is risky, and we therefore help by centralizing resources and by organizing working groups around specific themes.
The Gels & Sera working group focuses on stopping the use of animal-derived products in cell culture protocols. More specifically, we focus on two lines of products.
Fetal calf serum (FCS). Reasons for replacement: the production is associated with animal harm and is non-sustainable, it is xenogeneic, its origin is often unclear, there is considerable batch-batch variability, its content is ill defined, its use is incompatible with (pre)clinical safety regulations.
Matrigels. Reasons for replacement: the production is associated with animal harm, it is xenogeneic when working with human materials, there is considerable batch-batch variability, its content is ill defined.
In summary: reducing animal harm, while doing better science (or the other way around if you want to emphasize other priorities). In recent years many alternatives have been developed for FCS and matrigel, and it may be worthwhile considering a transition in your working protocols.
What do we DO for you?
- We organize an active working group that meets regularly (once every six weeks). Members freely exchange information and have access to a Teams environment containing relevant information.
- We coordinate the supply of replacement products (which are available for free) and store them centrally. This will also ensure that everybody is working with the same reagents.
- We host a database of interested and motivated students to be employed as interns on this topic.
- We host a searchable database of available products to replace FCS – the FCS-free database.
- We ran a social media campaign with seven scientific arguments to replace FCS with animal-free alternatives to improve research.
- We can even organize lab space if that is a limiting factor.
The working group primarily hosts researchers from the Utrecht Science Park, but other researchers are invited to join as well. Please move along with us and contact email@example.com if you are interested.