Christina Grindon, Robert Combes, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod
This report presents some of the results of a joint research project, sponsored by Defra and conducted by FRAME and Liverpool John Moores University, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with the REACH system. This report focuses on the use of alternative (non-animal) methods (both in vitro and in silico) for skin sensitisation testing. The manuscript reviews in vitro tests based on protein-ligand binding, dendritic/Langerhans cells and T-lymphocyte activation, and also the QSAR models and expert systems available for this endpoint. These tests are then incorporated into an integrated, decision-tree testing strategy, which also includes the Local Lymph Node Assay (in its original and new reduced protocols) and the traditional guinea-pig tests (which should only be used as a last resort). The aim of the strategy is to minimise the use of animals in testing for skin sensitisation, while satisfying the scientific and logistical demands of the EU REACH legislation.
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