Publish Date: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 11:30

Dr Nathalie Bock wins Young Researcher Award

Dr Nathalie Bock of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia won a Young Researcher (Rest of the World) prize for her project 'All-human bioengineered in vitro models as platforms for cancer research'. 


Dr Bock’s project is about providing all-human bioengineering models as platforms for cancer research. By using tissues from patients directly, artificial tissues, such as bone, are recreated in the laboratory. The bone-like artificial tissues are then used in co-culture with prostate cancer cells, in order to partly recreate the 3D context and microenvironment of prostate cancer disseminated to bone, a lethal condition. This human ‘bone metastasis’ laboratory model provides an all-human platform with unprecedented opportunities to study the bone/tumour interactions and screen rapidly for novel treatments, while avoiding the use of animals.

Metastasis is indeed an advanced stage of the cancer disease, which requires the progression of a primary tumour cell into a resistant tumour cell, which has undergone multiple cell divisions and genetic mutations. The complexity of events associated with true metastasis is too difficult to recreate in animals due to the short lifespan that animals provide. Furthermore, animals and humans bear physical and biological differences, which questions the translatability of results from one to the other. Despite such concerns, new drugs still go through animal testing in poorly effective metastasis models. As a result, a large number of drugs fail in phases II and III clinical trials, wasting scarce medical resources but also taking the lives of millions of animals away.

With the use of human cells, the pioneering cancer models from Dr Bock can provide a more relevant platform to study human cancer. By using the most advanced technologies and methodologies available, her approach represent an innovative alternative to animal testing which will reduce medical resource waste, and improve the success of human trials for novel anti-cancer drugs.

> Click for a full list of winners

The Lush Prize

Fighting animal testing is one of the founding core principles of Lush and The Lush Prize was launched in 2012 to help bring about an end to animal testing, in the wake of the continued failure to ban these practices globally.

An annual £250,000 (more than SGD 448,000) prize fund, the idea of The Lush Prize was to reward a ‘eureka’ moment when a breakthrough is made that would mean the end of testing on animals for cosmetics saftey forever.  In the years where there is no single significant breakthrough, the Lush Prize rewards groups or individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, training, awareness-raising and lobbying.

Young Researcher (Rest of the World) - Dr Nathalie Bock from Lush Prize on Vimeo.

The Lush Prize is now in its sixth year – having launched last year two new categories, adding an extra £100,000 to fund young researchers in Asia and the Americas who wish to pursue a career in non-animal research - and has provided more than £1.8 million to reward animal-free testing, training and campaigns around the world.  2017’s Lush Prize winners were announced on 10/11/2017.

Click for more information about the Lush award

Dr Nathalie Bock of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia won a Young Researcher (Rest of the World) prize for her project 'All-human b...