Workshop on “Materials and Technologies enabling 3D Models for standardized in-vitro toxicology studies”

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On May 26th, 2023, Politecnico di Torino organized a workshop on “Materials and Technologies enabling 3D Models for standardized in-vitro toxicology studies”. The workshop was held in hybrid mode, giving participants the flexibility and opportunity to participate online or in presence.

Three ALTERNATIVE partners presented technologies they are developing in the framework of the project ALTERNATIVE. These included steps towards the realization and validation of the ALTERNATIVE cardiac tissue model for toxicological studies. The workshop presented an important opportunity for ALTERNATIVE partners to both disseminate and refine the project work: they presented the major achievements of the project, while sharing information and viewpoints with experts in the field, collecting feedbacks from a qualified audience. In addition, renowned researchers were invited to share ideas and findings in engineering of different 3D tissue models, with a special focus on applications in toxicology evaluations and regulatory acceptance.

The workshop was chaired by Federico Vozzi, from Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and Gianluca Ciardelli, from Politecnico di Torino.  The event took off with the first presentation from ALTERNATIVE coordinator, Gianluca Ciardelli, presenting the development of the cardiac tissue model and the preliminary toxicology studies accomplished by now on 3D and 2D cultures. This was followed by presentation from Edoardo Luca Viganò, from Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri. He presented the in silico methods adopted for cardiotoxicity evaluation. The third speaker, Camila Betterelli from Elvesys, enlightened about the microfluidics systems and the current challenges in the field, mainly related to the requirement of device miniaturization while Valerie Zuang from JRC exposed the process of validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods.


Figure 1: Gianluca Cardelli and Federico Vozzi                                 Figure 2: Edoardo Viganò

The afternoon session was dedicated to external guest speakers. It started with the presentation from Cornelia Lee-Thedieck from Leibniz University, that reported on a 3D model of the bone marrow developed under the “Blood and Bones” ERC project. This model was tested as drug screening platform, for instance in the assessment of chemotherapy myelotoxicity.

Figure 3: Camila Bettarelli

The other invited speakers were Isabella De Angelis, from the Environment and Health Department of Istituto Superiore di Sanità, and Paolo Netti, from Università Federico II and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. Both presenters presented the results achieved in the development of barrier models and in the evaluation of nanomaterial toxicity, with a special focus on the in vitro modelling of the intestinal barrier. This was further followed by Lorenzo Moroni from Maastricht University describing a multistage model of the thyroid gland, developed under the project “SCREENED” funded by a H2020 program, and focused on the risk assessment of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

The last speaker of the day was, Massimiliano De Paola from Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, reported on the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells in tissue models, for instance in neural organoid development.

With overall participation of 100 participants (39 online and 61 in presence) the workshop was quite a success. The workshop gave valuable insights to attendees to increase their knowledge on the 3Rs principle and learn about the current EU policies for making chemicals safe for human health and the environment.

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