08 May OrganoVIR goes to America!
On the 25th of April one of OrganoVIR’s coordinators, Katja Wolthers, flew to Boston to attend the “The New Frontiers in 3D” conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The aim was to get an overview of the fast-developing field of organ-on-a-chip (OoC) technologies and to learn about how far these frontier technologies can already be applied for virology. In addition, the conference was also a perfect opportunity for Katja to present about OrganoVIR and our focus on organoids for virology research!
The majority of speakers and presenters came from a drug discovery or toxicology background, where the OoC field is booming. We learned about interesting disease models for diabetes or steatohepatitis and the possibilities of skin models, vascularisation, immunocompetence or tumor-on-a-chip models. The amazing possibilities of hydrogels was shown, as was the power of imaging and cell image analysis software for 3D cell culture techniques.
During the conference, the work of our OrganoVIR partner Thomas Hartung was mentioned by Dr. Lena Smirnova from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (JHU CAAT). Dr. Smirnova talked about the paradigm shifts in toxicology and views on animal testing, and how organoid technology could be implemented in this. For this to happen, new Quality Control standards are needed. It is therefore really important to know your model and to assure its quality through documentation and validation, as well as having knowledge on the ethical and political regulations. In order to do so education is needed, which is the exact aim of OrganoVIR!