Ditching animal testing data: collaboration looks to improve human safety predictions

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Ditching animal testing data: collaboration looks to improve human safety predictions

Related tags In vitro In vivo Research

A collaborative project is looking to improve human safety predictions for consumer products, and so overcome the need to reference animal test data.

Two organisations, non-animal testing lab XCellR8 and dermatological testing company Cutest, have launched the collaborative project, facilitated by a ‘substantial’ grant by Innovate UK.

The project aims to take the first steps to establishing reliable correlations between in vitro and in vivo predicative irritation testing, say the two organisations, to eliminate the need to refer to historical and often unreliable animal test data.

“This project is an exciting opportunity to develop innovative methods to provide enhanced consumer protection through being able to predict potential irritancy from topically applied ingredients and products.”

Frustration for companies

The groups say their project has expressed support from several leading personal care brands and retailers, who are keen to develop new predictive safety testing methods and ‘further remove’ the need to refer to historical animal testing.

“Many of our clients have expressed frustration with the unreliability of existing animal test data and its lack of relevance for humans,”​ explains Dr Carol Treasure, Founder and Managing Director of XCellR8.

“This grant will allow companies to take a leap forward in accurately establishing how ingredients may or may not irritate the skin prior to human volunteer trials, thus speeding up the process of bringing products to market.”

What is the project?

Cutest and XCellR8 say that the project is a two year research programme that began in August.

It seeks to determine the link between human in vitro and in vivo data, using a panel of carefully selected reference materials to improve the sensitivity and predictive capacity of skin irritation tests.

Stewart Long, CEO of Cutest Systems, explained that he believes the two organisations together boast the necessary research experience to carry out the programme.

“We feel that the 30 years of in vivo irritation testing and published research by Cutest, combined with the state of the art in vitro testing and research that XCellR8 undertakes, makes this a powerful research collaboration with two leading and complementary companies,”​ he confirmed.

Dr Treasure of XCellR8 added: "The latest funding from Innovate UK means we can continue to expand our research and development capabilities, which puts us at the leading edge of developing new, non-animal testing methods for the cosmetics industry, essential in complying with the EU Cosmetics Regulation.”

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