Towards ethically acceptable safety testing of drugs

Publication date 15.01.2014

Biotechnology graduate Joanna Fraczek was inspired to join the In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) research group by her interest in biology and love of animals. During her PhD research, she worked on the improvement of in vitro methods to replace the classical but low predictive and ethically controversial safety testing of drugs and other products on animals. Liver damage constitutes the main safety-related reason for post-marketed drug withdrawal. With more than 20 years’ experience, the IVTD team is delivering pioneering work in the field of liver in vitro modeling with innovative research embedded in international projects. IVTD has developed original proprietary protocols to produce functional hepatocytes, i.e. the main liver cell population, out of adult human and animal stem cells and progenitors. These hepatocyte-like cells show great potential for pharmaco-toxicological studies and cell therapy. 

IVTD is a recognized IOF knowledge center. As Business Development Manager, Joanna actively supports the translation of in-house know-how into real-life solutions. With the support of TTI, she manages intellectual property rights - with several patent applications - and evaluates project valorization potential and collaboration opportunities with industrial and academic players. She hopes to see IVTD knowledge soon being developed into value-creating applications, such as ethically-acceptable and human-relevant hepatic in vitro systems for the safety testing of new drug candidates or the new treatment options for liver patients.