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At the Forum for Analytical Science and Technology (FAST) held 16-17 May in Veldhoven, the iCARE project led by PhD student Fleur van Beek of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) was awarded 5600 euros, to be used for a feasibility study.

Fleur Van Beek presents iCARe project
Fleur Van Beek (HIMS) presenting the iCARe concept. Photo: HIMS.

iCARe is an acronym for Individualized Cellular Activity Reactor, a concept where immobilized cells will be probed for their reaction to a variety of substances - for example anti-cancer medicines, allergenic compounds, and toxins. The end goal is to develop this to such an extent that general physicians or quality control labs can quickly and easily test the effectiveness and/or safety of drugs, pollutants and any other materials up for question.

Team member Milou Santbergen (WUR, left) receives the cheque for the feasibility grant by jury member Hubertus Irth (Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research LACDR). Photo: HIMS.

The iCARE concept was developed at the FAST conference during a 2-hour brainstorm session by young scientists challenged to create original research plans. Fleur van Beek was chosen to be the Principal Investigator of a group including Paula Borgonje (University of Groningen), André van den Doel (Radboud University), Alina Astefanei (University of Amsterdam), Milou Santbergen (Wageningen University), Gerjen Tinnevelt (Radboud University), and Nienke van Dongen (Wageningen University).

The team managed to convince both the industrial participants and the jury to invest in their iCARe idea. A prize of 5600 euros was awarded to the team to have a student carry out a feasibility study.