Replacement of animal-derived products in cell culture: it's about time

Credits: DALL.E.2 - Newborn calf standing on top of a cell culture plate, digital art.
Image generated using an open AI platform.

The tool kit of biological and biomedical researchers is filled with many methods. The goal of most research is to contribute to human or animal health, either by gaining a better understanding of healthy and pathological processes or by directly intervening with them through therapy. Not all research can be performed directly in living humans, and many researchers use experimental animals instead. The 3Rs Centre Utrecht (3RCU) aims to promote and develop non animal methods or new approach methods (NAMs) that do not rely on experimental animals. 

Many NAMs are based on cell culture methods ranging from simple, such as the use of cell lines in bioassays, to more state-of-the-art, as the use of printed 3D organoids composed of different cell types as a proxy for organ function. These methods have in common that animal-derived products, such as fetal calf serum (FCS) and Matrigel, are often used in their protocols. However, the use of FCS and Matrigel is accompanied by major ethical and scientific concerns

The aim of the 3RCU is to replace the use of animal-derived products in cell culture protocols. This should reduce animal harm, while at the same time doing better science. 

Please move along with us! If you’re interested contact And if you are on the USP campus, feel free to join our Gels & Sera working group