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  Issue 4 (2001)

GD News
Replacing of Laboratory Animals by Cell Experiments:
OECD recommends Cell Experiments for the Test of new Drugs, Chemicals and cosmetical active Substances

The Bundesinstitut für gesundheitlichen Verbraucherschutz und Veterinärmedizin (BgVV) (Federal Institute for Sanitary Consumer Protection and Veterinary Medicine), resident in Berlin, reports in a press release of 15 November 2001 about an encouraging breakthrough for the protection of animals. Correspondingly, two animal experiment models, so far internationally stipulated for the testing of new drugs, chemicals and also new ingredients of cosmetics, will probably soon be replaced by animal-experiment-free tests worldwide. On the occasion of a meeting end of October at the BgVV, expert committees of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) have recommended to the OECD member states to test the phototoxicity and etching effect at the skin in future by means of animal-experiment-free-cell test. These tests allow an evaluation of the corresponding hazard potential of chemical substances just as exact as the animal experiments usual to date.

The recommended alternative methods have been mutually developed by the BgVV and the industry and experimentally tested under centralized control of the Zentralstelle zur Erfassung und Bewertung von Ersatz- und Ergänzungsmethoden zum Tierversuch (ZEBET) of the BgVV (Center for Recording and Assessment of substitutional and supplementary Methods for Animal Experiments) concerning their applicability. In the animal-experiment-free method of the phototoxicity test which is among other fields required for drugs and new UV filters of sun protection agents, cells of mice or human skin are treated with the test substances during cultivation in incubators and radiated with UV-light. According to information by the BgVV, this cell culture test predicts much better phototoxic reactions in humans than the animal experiments with mice, rats, guiney pigs or rabbits performed in earlier times.

For a test of the etching effect at the skin, so far realized with living rabbits and which was very painful for the animals, there are now even two alternative cell culture tests available. On the one hand it concerns an in-vitro method developed in Great-Britain with isolated rat skin preparations and on the other hand it is about a method developed by the ZEBET based on biotechnologically produced, artificial human skin models. The test of the etching effect at the skin is internationally stipulated for hazardous substances in the frame of the industrial safety and transport protection. It has direct consequences for the labeling, storing and transport of these substances. (jk)





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