Innovative Companies Create Nonanimal Skin Test
By Chad B. Sandusky, Ph.D., and Nancy Beck, Ph.D.
The biotechnology company Hurel and the global cosmetics giant L’Oréal have teamed up to develop a nonanimal method for testing products for allergic reactions. The new patent-pending technology, Allergy Test on a Chip™, replaces the widely used animal-based local lymph node assay (LLNA), potentially saving thousands of mice each year from this painful and stressful test. L’Oréal is funding this innovative endeavor, and Hurel is providing the scientific know-how and technology.
In the traditional LLNA, a product is swabbed onto the skin behind a mouse’s ear every day for several days, using at least 25 mice per test. The mice are then killed, and their lymph nodes are removed and tested for an allergic reaction to the product. Allergy Test on a Chip allows scientists to perform the test on artificial human skin and human immune cells—instead of mice. This new method provides more accurate results, since it is based on human physiology.
This technology—one of several new nonanimal methods Hurel is developing—is a major step toward replacing mice in testing cosmetics, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and other products for allergic reactions. By developing human-based technology to replace animal use, L’Oréal and Hurel have demonstrated their willingness to embrace modern, accurate, and humane science.
Action Alert: Contact the FDA About Animal Testing
Every day, thousands of animals are experimented on and killed to create and test drugs, many of which will never help a sick human being. That’s why PCRM and an international coalition of scientists, doctors, and animal-protection organizations filed the Mandatory Alternatives Petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The petition asks the FDA to mandate the use of validated nonanimal testing methods, when those alternatives exist, to create safer drugs for American consumers.
The FDA is currently reviewing the initiative. During this time, we need you to contact the FDA and urge the agency to mandate the use of validated alternatives to animal tests. Please write to:
Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
More than 60,000 PCRM members have already signed petitions that have been sent to the FDA.
To learn more about the Mandatory Alternatives Petition, visit Alternatives-Petition.org. To sign PCRM’s online petition to the FDA, go to Support.PCRM.org/FDA_Petition.