The haematologist Professor Christopher Baum and his colleagues Dr. Ute Modlich and Sabine Kn have been awarded the 2009 Ursula M. Hndel Animal Welfare Prize. The prize was awarded to this research team from the Hannover Medical School (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, MHH) in recognition of their novel testing system for use in the development of gene therapies that significantly reduces the number of animal experiments required. The Ursula M. Hndel Animal Welfare Prize to researchers and scientists who have made an exemplary and sustained effort to improve animal welfare in research. This is the third time that this biennial prize has been awarded, after having been awarded in 2004 and 2006 and this year is accompanied by an award of 50,000.
"In hardly any other area of research is the dilemma of ethical considerations as evident as in animal experimentation. There are still many scientific problems for which animal experiments are essential. Nevertheless, a lot of progress has been made to improve animal welfare", said the President of the DFG, Professor Matthias Kleiner, on the occasion of the award ceremony in Bonn, where Professor Baum and his colleagues received the prize on Friday the 13th of February. On the basis of the German Animal Welfare Act and its high standards, researchers and scientists are seeking alternative methods in order to reduce the number of animal experiments required, Kleiner continued. The improvement in experimental conditions is also the subject of many studies, in order to reduce the stress placed on the animals used for experiments.
In the opinion of the DFG and the independent award panel this team that has now been awarded the Ursula M. Hndel Animal Welfare Prize achieves these goals, even in a very topical field of research that is likely to be of increasing importance both for medicine as well as for human health in general. The in vitro immortalisation assay (IVIM) method developed by Professor Baum and
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