European chemicals industry to develop non-animal toxicity tests
The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) has launched a £450,000 research project into finding non-animal methods of toxicity testing. The aim of the project is to find safe non-animal testing methods by 2014 that will be free to use by the chemicals industry.
The research will focus on a field known as toxicogenomics, which seeks to understand the genetic and molecular processes at work in the body in response to toxic substances.
It is hoped to identify whether in vitro experiments, which are not performed on living animals, can safely be extrapolated to in vivo experiments, which are performed on living animals. Research will focus on three main target organs affected by toxic chemicals: the liver, the kidneys and the lungs.
Most toxicity testing currently done by the chemicals industry involves animal testing. The research represents an important step in implementing the three Rs (replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in research) in the chemicals industry.
Read more about the three Rs in animal research here.