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Australia’s Proposed Cosmetics Animal-Testing Ban ‘Falls Short’

Loopholes in Australia’s Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 make it ineffective at limiting new animal testing of cosmetic ingredients, the NGOs Humane Society International (HSI) and Humane Research Australia (HRA) have said in a joint consultation on the bill.

The bill only bans use of the data for ingredients whose end use is “solely in cosmetics” but not for “multi end use” substances. A blanket exemption for chemicals also used for other purposes is out-of-step with international best practice, according to HSI/HRA, and will lead to companies conducting the testing as a cheaper and easier option.

If the law is not amended, say the NGOs, it will clash with other regulatory regimes which ban animal testing on cosmetic ingredients irrespective of other end uses, such as EU law, which bans the data “for the purposes of placing [cosmetics products] on the EU market”.


New Tools to Potentially Reduce Need for Animal Testing

EFSA recently launched its OpenFoodTox database of chemical hazards in food and feed. The database is a rich source of toxicological information for risk assessment that can potentially support the reduction of animal testing.

Scientists at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy recently completed an EFSA-funded project aimed at developing alternative computer-based (“in silico”) modelling tools.

A report published today explains how these tools can help risk assessors to prioritise toxicological testing strategies and to carry out risk assessments for emerging contaminants when data are absent.

IIVS Recipient of Device That Mimics Human Exposure to Aerosols

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a leader in non-animal test methods, is the recipient of a VITROCELL® inhalation exposure system thanks to a generous donation by the PETA International Science Consortium. The device, which is designed to replace animals in inhalation testing, can be used to expose human lung cells to airborne test materials in an environment that mimics the human lung. IIVS will use the VITROCELL® system for testing combustible tobacco products, as well as next generation heat-not-burn and electronic cigarettes using a VITROCELL® Smoking Machine.


A New Tool Could Help Us Finally Eliminate Animal Testing

Researchers from the University of Leeds and Avacta Life Sciences have developed a new tool for studying biological molecules and processes, one of which could replace animal-derived antibodies.

The research team demonstrated that the Affirmer technology was successful, producing results similar in quality when used in place of antibodies in a wide range of routine procedures. In addition, due to its smaller size, the Affirmer technology yielded superior results for the new super-resolution microscopy technique.

The team’s research has proven that the technology exists to cut animals out of this process altogether — and probably with more accurate results, too.

Large-scale Production of Living Brain Cells Enables Entirely New Research

Important pieces of the puzzle to understand what drives diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are still missing today. One crucial obstacle for researchers is that it is impossible to examine a living brain cell in someone who is affected by the disease. With the help of a new method for cell conversion, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a way to produce diseased, aging brain cells on a large scale in a cell culture dish.

After performing a biopsy on the patient, the skin cells are transformed into brain cells that effectively imitate the disease and the age of the patient. The fact that the cells can now be produced in large quantities enables researchers to carry out a series of experiments that were previously not possible.

The Lund researchers’ discovery can hopefully contribute a crucial piece to the puzzle with regard to the connection between the onset of disease and cell aging, something which previous research based on animal experiments and stem cells has failed to provide.

CASIS partnership brings ‘organs-on-chips’ research to space station

The “Organs-on-Chips” approach to human physiology research aboard the International Space Station may lead to more reliable and predictable results for drug development and reduce the need for animal testing.

Five recently announced research projects funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), will soon bring “Organs-on-Chips” research to the orbiting laboratory.

Conducting biomedical investigations within the space station’s unique microgravity environment allows researchers to study cells as they grow in 3-D, rather than in the 2-D lab environment on Earth where gravity forces cells in culture to flatten against plastic walls. In addition to the advantages of growing cells into 3-D tissues, cell cultures will also be observed for changes in gene expression, cell communication, and patterns of differentiation that may lead to changes in organs and other body systems.