EU to put Roche’s animal testing alternative through its paces

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Animal testing, In vivo

EU to put Roche’s animal testing alternative through its paces
The European Union has announced it is to put Roche’s xCELLigence System, an alternative animal testing technology through the paces as part of its SEURAT (Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing) initiative to see if it can be safely applied for use in the cosmetics industry.

The system primarily developed by the biotechnology company to reduce animal testing in pharmaceutical developments has been chosen as it is the “only flexible system that boasts a broad application range​”, Dr. Burkhard Ziebolz of Roche Diagnostics, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

With animal experiments no longer permitted for use in cosmetic toxicology testing after 2013, developing alternatives to in vivo toxicity tests for assessing human safety of new products has become a key issue.

On-going research

According to Dr. Ziebolz, SEURAT have already sponsored a team of scientists from Innsbruck Medical University to carry out tests which found the xCELLigence System to be “a sensitive, non-invasive tool for monitoring repeated dose effects on epithelial cell function and cytotoxicity.”

However, Ziebolz stresses that investigation into the renal epithelial monolayer formation and barrier function of the System remains on-going before the EU will deem the technology ‘approved’ for use in the cosmetics industry.  

Safety for the users of cosmetics is key, therefore technologies that have the potential to replace animal testing have to be carefully tested in this special application field​,” says Ziebolz.

How it works

xCELLigence System features a label-free electronic impedance-based sensing method to monitor cellular events in real time, providing information about cell number, cell viability, cell quality and morphology.

Cells are placed on an electrode that measures its electrical impedance, if the cell gets in contact with a cosmetic ingredient, its impedance changes​,” explains Ziebolz.

The impedance change correlates to certain modifications in the cell and thereby gives information whether the tested ingredient harms the cell​,” he adds.

The technology is also said to determine detailed compound and cell mediated cytotoxicity as the system takes less than 15 seconds to analyse the impedance of the 96 individual wells in its ‘E Plates’.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Animal Testing

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