Posted: 19 July 2012. Updated: 23 November 2012
The European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC) has recently published a briefing “Cosmetics: pioneering the way towards animal free testing”, which outlines the current state of play with cosmetics testing and the non-animal alternatives that are available.
The EC-JRC states that the prospect of a complete ban is a powerful driver for research and innovation; their briefing concentrates specifically on the work done by SEURAT-1, a European private-public research consortium, which is working towards animal free testing and of which the EC-JRC is a key partner.
SEURAT-1 was launched in January 2011 and will run for 5 years, with a budget of €50 million, equally financed by the European Commission (FP7) and Cosmetics Europe. SEURAT aims at “Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing” and, although initially focussing on the chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products, results in this field will be useful in a wide range of other industrial and medical sectors and will also have a positive impact on the competitiveness and innovation of EU companies.
In its own words “the methodology and tools being developed by SEURAT-1 scientists are intended for application in a variety of fields… In addition, the knowledge being generated regarding the workings of fundamental biological processes at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels can be translated to the fields of personalised medicine and synthetic biology.”
Recent achievements of SEURAT-1 include new human cell models for in vitro toxicity testing; bioreactors for creating organ tissues in vitro; and computational methods for toxicity prediction and it aims to pave the way to replacing in vivo repeated-dose systemic toxicity testing.
The EC-JRC explain how “a smart, toxicity-mechanistic approach to safety assessment leads to an intimate understanding of the complex relationship between the structure of a molecule and the biological activity it can induce. This structure-activity knowledge provides the premise for more rational and efficient molecular design, whether aimed at the formulation of ‘greener’ chemicals for a higher level of environmental and human health protection, or the development of more effective drugs with lesser side effects.”
For more information about SEURAT click here