Sandra Coecke, Vera Rogiers, Martin Bayliss, José Castell, Johannes Doehmer, Gérard Fabre, Jeffrey Fry, Armin Kern and Carl Westmoreland

In this report, metabolically competent in vitro systems have been reviewed, in the context of drug metabolising enzyme induction. Based on the experience of the scientists involved, a thorough survey of the literature on metabolically competent long-term culture models was performed. Following this, a prevalidation proposal for the use of the collagen gel sandwich hepatocyte culture system for drug metabolising enzyme induction was designed, focusing on the induction of the cytochrome P450 enzymes as the principal enzymes of interest. The ultimate goal of this prevalidation proposal is to provide industry and academia with a metabolically competent in vitro alternative for long-term studies. In an initial phase, the prevalidation study will be limited to the investigation of induction. However, proposals for other long-term applications of these systems should be forwarded to the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods for consideration. The prevalidation proposal deals with several issues, including: a) species; b) practical prevalidation methodology; c) enzyme inducers; and d) advantages of working with independent expert laboratories. Since it is preferable to include other alternative tests for drug metabolising enzyme induction, when such tests arise, it is recommended that they meet the same level of development as for the collagen gel sandwich long-term hepatocyte system. Those tests which do so should begin the prevalidation and validation process.
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