L’Oréal develops two new animal testing alternatives
The two methods assess for skin allergy and eye irritation, the company says, and both are able to be used in place of animal testing.
The first, U-SENS, predicts sensitizing potential of formulations, while the HCE EIT method can detect the eye irritation potential of chemicals.
With the OECD adoption of these methods by L’Oréal’s research laboratories, they are now available for all industries to use as alternative testing methods.
"Forty years of research into skin reconstruction and alternative methods are now bearing fruit," said Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President Research and Innovation at L'Oréal. "This is a major breakthrough in the replacement of animal testing."
Opening up future development
L’Oréal says that the development of the new testing methods do not only represent alternatives in themselves, they also open up the research field to develop further on the basis of these approaches.
“These two scientific methods, developed by L'Oréal's research teams, allow the development of an ever larger and more efficient range of alternative assessment methods that avoid the need for animal testing,” the company confirms.
Seeking robust and effective alternative tests to replace animal testing is a core issue for cosmetics and beauty formulators, particularly those retailing in markets that have banned the practice of animal testing. The EU for example banned animal testing in 2013.
How do the tests work?
L’Oréal describes the two new testing methods in the following terms:
Skin allergy is a delayed immunological reaction that occurs following repeated contact with a sensitizing substance from the environment, a chemical or a cosmetic product.
This reaction is the result of a complex mechanism that triggers a series of inflammatory reactions on the skin.
The U-SENS™ method for detecting and predicting a skin allergy, developed in L'Oréal's laboratories, is based on tests performed in vitro on human cells that express a specific marker of immunity.
In 2016, the EURL-ECVAM had judged that the method was efficient and reproducible.
Eye irritation is characterized by an immediate reaction, which may or may not be reversible, that affects the cornea or the conjunctiva of the eye. This reaction may lead to redness or a burning sensation.
To evaluate eye irritation, L'Oréal has developed a method based on a human cornea epithelium model reconstructed in vitro (organic tissue), that faithfully reproduces human histological and morphological properties.
The cellular viability of this tissue in 3D is measured by a specific protocol. This HCE EIT method, which is considered robust and relevant, was recognised and validated in 2016 by the EURL-ECVAM.