Researchers awarded prize for stem cell research

February 4, 2009

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS) has awarded its annual prize to a project exploring the use of stem cells for treating glaucoma and other eye diseases.

The UK's National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS) has awarded its annual prize to a project exploring the use of stem cells for treating retina diseases and other ocular conditions.

Dr Keith Martin and Thomas Johnson of the University of Cambridge's Centre for Brain Repair in the UK are investigating using stem cells as neuroprotectants in damaged retinas. The team implanted the stem cells into explanted tissue from rats' eyes that had been kept alive in the laboratory instead of transplanting the cells into the retinas of anaesthetized animals, as is the traditional method. Because multiple layers of tissue can be obtained from a single animal, Dr Martin's method reduced the number of animals used in experiments to an eighth.

The £10,000 (approx €11,400) NC3RS prize is sponsored by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and was awarded by Phil Willis MP, Chair of the House of Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee, at a ceremony in London. Two highly commended prizes were also awarded.