Colipa, the trade association representing the interests of the cosmetic industry in Europe, presented the latest progress regarding alternatives to animal testing at the 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, also known as WC8, which was held from August 21 to 25, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.

EUR 37 million invested

The event, hosted by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), brought together about 800 attendants from more than 50 countries: researchers, veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, members of institutional animal care and use/ethics committees, and regulatory experts.

"It is clear that Colipa has made significant progress in developing and evaluating new alternative models,” said Dr Horst Wenck, Chair of Colipa’s Strategic Project Team on Alternatives. “The cosmetics industry, through Colipa, is spending 37 million euros between 2007 and 2014 on research into alternatives. This is more than any other sector, producing some notable successes.

New in vitro tests

This work includes the development of in vitro methods to test Eye Irritation, using Reconstructed Human Tissue (RHT) that replicates the human eye cornea. “After validation, these new methods will allow the assessment of the risks of eye irritation for a range of different ingredients used in cosmetics and other chemical products, without the use of animals,Colipa said in a release.

As far as skin allergy testing is concerned, Colipa claimed its research has provided new insights into the biological processes involved and has led to three in vitro tests, which are now being reviewed by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM). These tests will form part of an in vitro test toolbox capable of defining the potential for skin allergy without needing new animal test data. This toolbox also includes computer-simulation models, comparing data with existing similar chemicals.