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Utrecht University
UMC Utrecht
The mission statement of the 3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences (ULS) is to stimulate the development, acceptance and implementation of methods which can Replace, Reduce and Refine (the 3Rs) animal experiments. The Centre facilitates the 3Rs in education and animal research in many ways, by providing information and advice about 3Rs models.

New animal-free alternative for Matrigel
Schicheng Ye, PhD student at Utrecht University, developed a thermoreversible synthetic hydrogel, which could successfully replace Matrigel. The new hydrogel can replace Matrigel in culturing human functional liver cells, but has the potency to also be used in a variety of clinical applications.
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Two fetal calf serum (fcs) awareness activities
As the use of FCS involves both animal welfare and scientific issues the NCad and the NC3Rs took the initiative to raise awareness about these issues. Read more below.
NCad fetal calf serum video
The Netherlands National Committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (NCad) produced a short animation in which concerns about the use of fetal calf serum are discussed and how in vitro methods can do without it. It could be an excellent source in education.
Watch here
NC3Rs blog about FCS
The NC3RS published a blog post by Jan van der Valk about the history, current use, issues and alternatives to the use of fetal calf serum: "A change in (cell) culture: exploring alternatives to fetal calf serum".
Read here
Wide use of 3Rs methods in chemical safety testing
The latest ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) report for the year 2019 shows that for the safety testing of chemicals the use of existing data with read-across approaches, weight of evidence and QSAR methods are used more than experimental studies for safety testing of chemicals. Also non-animal in vitro methods use are on the rise.
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Organ-on-a-chip: current gaps and future directions 
In December 2019, the Biochemical Society meeting on organ-on-a-chip technologies and their potential 3Rs impacts took place. The presentations will be available on-demand from 29 June to 19 July. Anyone working on complex in vitro systems or interested in learning more is encouraged to register.
Register here
Utrecht working group for animal-free innovations in science 
Scientific institutions at Utrecht Science Park that are involved in animal testing are joining forces to accelerate the transition to animal-free innovations. They have set up a working group of top researchers of various biomedical disciplines and innovation science. It is called TPI Utrecht and collaborates closely with the governmental Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI).
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Better antibodies without using animals
The JRC’s EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM) has issued a Recommendation urging end-users and other stakeholders to recognise the scientific validity of non-animal-derived antibodies and to stop using animals for antibody development and production.
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E-learning and the 3Rs
FLAIRE Learning has released three new NC3Rs-funded e-learning modules on advanced anaesthesia for laboratory animal professionals. In this guest blog post, Professor Paul Flecknell and Jon Gledhill explore how e-learning can complement more traditional training approaches.
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Support our activities!
The 3Rs-Centre ULS maintains the 3Rs databases: The Humane Endpoints Website, the Interspecies Database and the FCS-free Database. These websites contribute to the refinement, reduction and replacement of animals used for research and are free of charge for their users. The website does not receive any financial support and their future relies on donations and gifts. You can help us with keeping these websites available for free by donating a small amount of money for the maintenance and updating of these databases. We are happy with all donations! The 3Rs Programme is part of the charitable fund Friends of VetMed, and as such is exempt from any gift or inheritance taxes. This means that 100% of your donation will contribute towards the purpose specified by you.
Show your support
Take a look at international workshops, conferences, meetings and online webinars in the online events calendar of the 3Rs-Centre ULS.
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