GLP laboratory adapts existing OECD Test Guidelines to animal-product-free conditions

Earlier this year, we announced XCELLR8 wins £100K funding in the 2020 CRACK IT Challenges competition for a six-month proof-of-concept study to develop in vitro tests free from animal-derived reagents. The prize is sponsored by Unilever and AstraZeneca and co-funded by Unilever, and it is part of the 2020 CRACK IT Challenges competition.

NC3Rs CRACK-IT logoOur work is focused on the challenge to remove animal-derived products such as Foetal Bovine Serum from in vitro tests and to improve human relevance and reproducibility. Phase one aims to include a preliminary characterisation of the cells and animal-free S9 substitutes (AFS9), as well as design a protocol in full compliance with OECD’s TG487 (Mammalian Cell Micronucleus Test) and TG455 (Transactivation Assays to Detect Estrogen Receptor Agonists and Antagonists). We will also establish preliminary databases of reference values for positive and negative controls in both tests. Laboratory work finishes in August, and we will share outcomes in a scientific publication later in the year.

Rabbits in labIf successful in our application, phase two will commence immediately after, and we aim to provide a detailed characterisation of cells and AFS9 substitutes and engage with regulators to update current protocols.  All tests will complete at XCellR8 and one other qualified laboratory. We will publish all methods and commercialise products to ensure widespread access by other laboratories. As we continue to update you on our progress, please keep visiting our website and help us raise awareness by sharing this post with your friends and colleagues.

XCellR8 has a successful track record in this area, having already adapted the established OECD TG 442D KeratinoSens™ skin sensitisation test to animal-product-free conditions, which led to the subsequent revision of the OECD Test Guideline to include the new method.

CRACK IT prize helps science make another step forward

XCellR8 Founder and CEO Dr Carol Treasure commented, “We are constantly seeking new ways to improve the accuracy and reliability of tests that humans rely on to be sure that products are safe. Countless animal lives have been lost, yet time again fail to provide relevance to human safety and efficacy. Furthermore, the ongoing use of animal components in most of these tests can affect the reproducibility of results – a factor that has been largely overlooked until recently. We are delighted to see Unilever and AstraZeneca sponsoring and addressing this gap, and equally delighted for us to be part of such an important step forward in science.”

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