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Universiteit Utrecht
3Rs-Centre Utrecht Life Sciences
Newsletter nr 5-2019
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.

Oviduct-on-a-chip improves fertilization and reproduction research
How can we better understand the process of fertilization in mammals? Thanks to a new member of the organs-on-chip family, Dr. Bart Gadella and his colleagues are able to better study Fertilization and Reproduction. They developed the oviduct-on-a-chip at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. The prototype enables them to use cow gametes obtained from slaughterhouses to achieve fertilization and early embryonic development. This replaces in vivo fertilization to obtain their research target. In addition to contributing to further knowledge of reproduction, they have also reported important findings that are essential for anyone who uses 3D printing technology in combination with living cells.
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EPA plan to end testing on mammals by 2035
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced to reduce and eventually stop funding toxicity tests on mammals by 2035. It will promote the development of alternatives like computer modelling and laboratory testing with human cells and tissues. This is in line with European initiatives like the Dutch Transition Programme for Innovation without the use of animals (TPI). In addition, research universities are also working hard to implement this vision. The developments are consistent with the concept of the 3Rs, focusing on Replacement. With animals still being used in testing for years to come, Reduction and Refinement will however still need attention and funding to ensure the highest possible animal welfare.
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The importance of 3Rs for Fish
It is highly likely that fish feel pain. A study from the University of Liverpool, UK, has concluded this after reviewing 98 studies on fish pain. This stresses the relevance of the use of the 3Rs in experiments which use fish. "If we accept that fish experience pain, this has important implications for how we treat them" said Dr. Lynne Sneddon who lead the study, in an interview with the Independent. Determining Humane Endpoints is essential Refinement when conducting experiments on fish like zebrafish. On the  Humane Endpoints website ( specific information on distress, clinical signs and humane endpoints in zebrafish can be found.
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3Rs-Centres meet

At EUSAAT2018, a meeting was held with 3Rs-centres present in Europe. This was the start of the 3Rs centre platform. Since then, 3Rs-centres have met at Berlin in March 2019, at FELASA2019 and EUSAAT2019. Under the chairmanship of Winfried Neuhaus, common aims were identified. These aims are i.e. to bring the 3Rs field forward, to help to implement the aims of the Directive 2010/63/EU locally, and to develop strategies and methods to reach out and connect with basic science. In the first year of existence many 3Rs centres joint the platform. An overview of current 3Rs centres in Europe can be found on

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Jan van der Valk received Björn Ekwall Memorial Foundation award
On October 11th, during the EUSAAT2019-congress, Dr. Jan van der Valk received the Björn Ekwall Foundation Memorial Award from the president of the BEMF, prof. Stina Oredson. It recognises his efforts in establishing the FCS-free database and informing the scientific community about the concern of using Fetal Calf Serum in cell culture medium from an animal ethical view point as well as in the perspective of reproducibility issues. The award celebrates 20 years of dedication to raise awareness about FCS within the scientific community through publications, workshops, webinars and lectures.
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Support our activities!
The 3Rs-Centre ULS maintains the 3Rs databases: The Humane Endpoints Websitethe 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.
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Take a look at international workshops, conferences, meetings and online webinars in the online events calendar of the 3Rs-Centre ULS.
Events       »

Contact details
Yalelaan 2
(+31) 30-2538009

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