French contract research organisation CIT will work on in vitro toxicity testing for cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredients as the newest member of the European ‘ScreenTox’ network.
The project, which is being coordinated by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), aims to use pluripotent human stem cells to improve toxicity testing for candidate products.
The idea is that because these cell-lines can be triggered to develop into any type of cell they can be used to create a range of predictive in vitro assays that more accurately reflect the behaviour of a cosmetic ingredient or a drug.
CIT CSO Roy Foster told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com's sister publication Outsourcing-Pharma.com that the firm is going to be involved in assessing the assay's robustness and in its subsequent industrialisation, but could not provide additional information for reasons of confidentiality.
He went on to say that: "We are confident that our involvement in the project will potentiate our activity in in vitro testing," adding that the company has already invested in this field “which we see as an important area for both CIT and toxicity testing in the future."
Evreux-headquartered CIT is the fourteenth member of the ScreenTox project, joining drug firms such as AstraZeneca, CXR Biosciences, and academic groups in Germany and the UK Health Protection Agency.
Five year project
The project, which is being part funded by the European Commission (EC) under its 7th RTD Framework Programme, will focus on four key research areas over its five year duration.
The first of these is “relevance”, which will see the development and maintenance of discrete stem cell phenotypes to provide large versatility to adapt to assays of specific pathways.
The group will then focus developing methods of automated cell production and differentiation in the “efficiency” stage using a variety of cell engineering, selection and genomics technology
The penultimate step is to "scale up" the project to develop cells and technologies that enable the industrial production of assays, the robustness of which will be examined in the final “normalisation” stage of the project.