2022 CRACK IT Challenges - replacing, reducing and improving animal testing

Funding of £1.2M is available through the 2022 CRACK IT Challenges competition to solve two Challenges: “Animal-free tumourigenicity assessment of CAR-T and other genetically modified T cells” and “Development of an in silico model to predict thyroid receptor mediated human endocrine disruption”.

Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

08/09/2022

Registration Closes

03/10/2022

Award

The Two Phase Challenge 42 – T-ALERT offers up to £1M funding and a research contract for up to three years (closes 27th Oct). The Single Phase Challenge 43 – Thyroid Tox offers up to £100k funding and a research contract for up to 18 months (closes 3rd Nov).

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The NC3RS is a UK-based scientific organisation dedicated to helping the research community worldwide to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for medical testing.

Funding of £1.2M is available through the 2022 CRACK IT Challenges competition* to solve two Challenges identified jointly by the NC3Rs and Sponsors. This annual competition provides UK and EU-based academics and SMEs with the opportunity to apply to develop new 3Rs tools, technologies or approaches and engage with new partners.

The 2022 Challenges encompass animal use in the key areas of endocrine disruption and CAR-T cell therapy. These Challenges have been developed in conjunction with Sponsors who will provide in-kind support and scientific expertise to help solve the Challenge. The aim of these Challenges is to deliver scientific and 3Rs benefits through the development and commercialisation of new products and services that are tailored to end-user needs. Funding is provided by the NC3Rs and Sponsors will provide in-kind support throughout the Challenges.

Interested in applying for one of this year’s Challenges? Register for our webinars in early September:

Register for T-ALERT launch webinar on Tuesday 6 September, 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)

Register for Thyroid Tox launch webinar on Wednesday 7 September, 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)

The Challenges

Challenge 42 – T-ALERT: Animal-free tumourigenicity assessment of CAR-T and other genetically modified T cells (apply by 27th October)

CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor-T cell) therapies are emerging as effective therapeutic approaches in the treatment of some cancers. In vivo studies are used to assess the potential for tumourigenicity of these therapies and are invasive and often not predictive of clinical outcome.

This Two Phase Challenge aims to develop an in vitro assay that can reliably evaluate tumourigenicity of human-engineered T cell therapies with the potential to be applied to multiple immune cell types.

3Rs benefitsIn vivo studies to assess tumourigenicity of modified T cells involve a minimum of 30 to 40 immunocompromised mice and can run for up to one year. Development of a predictive in vitro assay has the potential to replace the use of animals.

The Sponsors of this Challenge are Novartis, Takeda, AstraZeneca, Sonomabio, GentiBio.

Challenge 43 – Thyroid Tox: Development of an in silico model to predict thyroid receptor mediated human endocrine disruption (apply by 3rd November)

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in food, the environment and consumer products and can interact with endocrine related receptors including thyroid receptors. The full effect of these on human health and environmental species is not known.

This Single Phase Challenge aims to develop quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) and molecular docking tools that reliably predict thyroid receptor-mediated human endocrine disruption.

3Rs benefits: The model developed through this Challenge aims to replace the animals used for thyroid receptor related endpoints in regulatory studies, delivering a reduction of 10-15% in the 2,500 animals used per chemical tested.

The Challenge is Sponsored by Shell and Syngenta; the NC3Rs will also facilitate access to expert user input on the use of the EPA ToxCast database.

Close dates: 27 October 2022,12:00pm (noon) GMT (Two Phase Challenge 42 – T-ALERT, Phase 1)
3 November 2022, 12:00pm (noon) GMT (Single Phase Challenge 43 – Thyroid Tox)

The competition is open to any UK or European Union (EU) body, public or private. Applications can be from single organisations or investigators or from consortia. The lead applicant must be UK or EU based.

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