Use of the Bovine Udder Skin Model to Evaluate the Tolerability of Mesem Cosmetic Cream

Christa Raak, Friedrich Molsberger, Wolfgang Pittermann, Mathias Bertram, Sibylle Robens and Thomas Ostermann

Observational studies of Mesem cream (based on Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. plant extract) found that it had positive effects on skin hydration and smoothing of the skin. However, some patients reported skin irritation effects. The current study evaluated the skin tolerability of Mesem cream, as compared to the carrier cream (without the active ingredient), by using the isolated perfused bovine udder skin model. The primary outcomes investigated were cytotoxicity (i.e. cell viability), assessed with the MTT assay, and irritancy and inflammation, assessed by measuring PGE2 tissue levels. A total reaction score was calculated by combining the results for each parameter. In the case of a single topical application, significant differences were found between the carrier cream and the Mesem cream. While the application of carrier cream resulted in low cytotoxicity (–8.4% change in viability, as compared to the untreated control), the Mesem cream was more cytotoxic (–18.7% change). In addition, one hour after application, PGE2 levels were higher in Mesem cream-treated skin, as compared to carrier cream-treated skin (16.6% versus 11.3%). Further experiments (tape-stripped skin and repeated application) also found significant differences between the two creams in the results obtained. Evaluation of the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of phyto-cosmetic products is important. Our results confirmed the findings of two previous human observational studies (the human patch test and open application study). Future experiments to understand the underlying principles of its effectiveness, safety and tolerability should include extracts of M. crystallinum L. juice, as well as the Mesem cream itself.


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Predicting Human Drug Toxicity and Safety via Animal Tests: Can Any One Species Predict Drug Toxicity in Any Other, and Do Monkeys Help?

Jarrod Bailey, Michelle Thew and Michael Balls

Animals are still widely used in drug development and safety tests, despite evidence for their lack of predictive value. In this regard, we recently showed, by producing Likelihood Ratios (LRs) for an extensive data set of over 3,000 drugs with both animal and human data, that the absence of toxicity in animals provides little or virtually no evidential weight that adverse drug reactions will also be absent in humans. While our analyses suggest that the presence of toxicity in one species may sometimes add evidential weight for risk of toxicity in another, the LRs are extremely inconsistent, varying substantially for different classes of drugs. Here, we present further data from analyses of other species pairs, including nonhuman primates (NHPs), which support our previous conclusions, and also show in particular that test results inferring an absence of toxicity in one species provide no evidential weight with regard to toxicity in any other species, even when data from NHPs and humans are compared. Our results for species including humans, NHPs, dogs, mice, rabbits, and rats, have major implications for the value of animal tests in predicting human toxicity, and demand that human-focused alternative methods are adopted in their place as a matter of urgency.
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Barriers to the Uptake of Human-based Test Methods, and How to Overcome Them

Kathy Archibald, Tamara Drake and Robert Coleman

Although there is growing concern as to the questionable value of animal-based methods for determining the safety and efficacy of new medicines, which has in turn led to many groups developing innovative human-based methods, there are many barriers to their adoption for regulatory submissions.
The reasons for this are various, and include a lack of confidence that the available human-based methods, be they in vivo, in silico or in vitro, can be sufficiently predictive of clinical outcomes. However, this is not the only problem: the issue of validation presents a serious impediment to progress, a particularly frustrating situation, in view of the fact that the existing animal-based methods have never themselves been formally validated. Superimposed upon this is the issue of regulatory requirements, where, although regulators may be willing to accept non-animal approaches in place of particular animal tests, nowhere is this explicitly stated in their guidelines. Such problems are far from trivial, and represent major hurdles to be overcome. In addition, there are a range of other barriers, real or self-imposed, that are hindering a more-predictive approach to establishing a new drug’s clinical safety and efficacy profiles. Some of these barriers are identified, and ways forward are suggested.
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An Evaluation of Sterilisation Processes

Dariusz Śladowski, Iwona Grabska-Liberek, Joanna Olkowska-Truchanowicz, Kamil Lipski and Grzegorz Gut

A sterile environment is one of the basic elements of in vitro cell culture. When choosing an appropriate sterilisation method, the possibility that the physical and chemical properties of the sterilised material could be altered by the sterilisation process itself, should be considered. Avoiding any potential problems of toxicity arising as a consequence of the sterilisation process is essential, not only in in vitro cell culture procedures, but especially in the case of the sterilisation of medical devices which come into contact with human tissue (e.g. catheters, surgical tools, and containers used for transplant preparation and storage). As it is not possible to predict the potential effects of every combination of test material and sterilisation process, we have designed a simple test, which can be easily performed to ensure the absence of cytotoxicity. The test involves the culturing of a non-adherent cell line in direct contact with the test material, in micro-wells attached to the surface of the test device. By using this novel test method, three sterilisation procedures were compared for each material. The results indicated that, neither ionising irradiation nor ethylene oxide left toxic residues on the surface of polystyrene; and that, in the case of steel, neither steam sterilisation nor ethylene oxide left toxic residues on the metal. The cold plasma system, which left toxic residues on the surface of both materials, required a post-sterilisation period of 24 hours in the case of steel, and 10 days in the case of polystyrene, in order to eliminate toxic residues prior to their use.
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