The human Cell Line Activation Test (h-CLAT) has been developed by the industry and validated by the JRC, who say it will reduce the number of animals currently used in identifying chemicals that can lead to allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).
Already estimated to affect already 20% of Europe's population, the EU Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) is now recommending this method in the context of integrated approaches to testing and assessment.
This means that together with data from other non-animal methods and computer model (in silico) predictions, the recommendation aims to inform scientific discussions in view of developing an OECD Test Guideline on the h-CLAT.
Previous ECVAM work on skin sensitisation
The OECD Test Guidelines are internationally agreed test methods used by government, industry and independent laboratories. They are used to determine the safety of chemicals and chemical preparations, including pesticides and industrial chemicals.
Two other recommendations issued by EURL ECVAM on non-animal methods for skin sensitisation testing, the DPRA and KeratinoSensTM, recently led to the adoption of these methods as OECD Test Guidelines 442C and 442D.
EU called to invest more in R&D to stay globally competitive
By the end of 2014, the European Commission called on Europe to invest more in R&D to keep up with competitors as part of a 'Horizon 2020' project.
According to the EC, 97% of Europe's total R&D investment is by companies based in 10 countries. The overall performance is largely driven by companies based in three countries: Germany, France and the UK, which account for more than two thirds of the total.
According to a 2014 'EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard' report, investment in research and development by companies based in the EU grew by 2.6% in 2013, despite the unfavourable economic environment. However, this growth has slowed in comparison to the previous year's 6.8%.
"With public resources limited, attracting private R&D investment is even more essential. Horizon 2020 is already engaging more businesses than ever before, but now we're ready to step up our game. The €315 billion investment plan presented by the Commission and European Investment Bank will help to raise more private investment for riskier projects, benefiting R&D across Europe," said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation in late December.