You asked us some questions about animal-free testing and we’ve answered…

Can you claim a product is ‘Cruelty-Free’ even if animal-derived components have been used in the testing process?

Yes, companies can still say that their product is ‘cruelty-free’ as they are not using animal-testing methods and under the current system this is allowed. But we’d challenge that this claim is not truly correct, especially for vegan products. Transparency is really important from companies – consumers need to understand what is behind the product they are buying.

Most importantly, there is no need to use animal serum! At XCellR8 we never use it in our lab, instead we use human serum and artificial components – we’d love to see other companies switching to completely animal-free methods as well.

Where do you get the human serum and cells from?

We obtain our human serum commercially from FDA approved donation centres in the US. There are very strict controls on the consent and transparency process as well as the serum being virus tested to ensure it’s a safe product to use in the lab!

Our cells come from tissue donor banks with full ethical consent. These are QC and safety tested before we use them in the lab.

In the “2 out of 3” approach for skin sensitisation testing, is there a test in your opinion that holds more weight?

Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the “2 out of 3” approach for skin sensitisation testing. There are currently three tests recommended for compliance with a range of legislation including REACH and the CLP Regulation: DPRA, KeratinoSens™, h-CLAT. XCellR8 offers them all in entirely animal-free conditions. The three tests reflect distinct Key Events in the recently-defined Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) for human skin sensitisation. Current regulatory guidance for in vitro skin sensitisation testing is to adopt the “2 out of 3” approach, whereby 2 positive results out of the 3 tests (OECD TGs 442c, 442d and 442e) results in classification as a Skin Sensitiser.

KeratinoSens™, the activation of the keratinocyte cells in the epidermis, is probably the most powerful if you had to use one as a standalone test. Some companies do this if they don’t have that regulatory requirement to follow.

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