Animal-free testing for skin sensitisation, allergen potency from BASF and Givaudan receives OECD approval

After 10+ years of collaboration, BASF and Givaudan had finalised and received OECD approval on a multi-method animal-free toxicology testing approach that predicted skin sensitisation and a bolt-on test that could predict the intensity of an allergic reaction on the skin – previously only achieved via animal testing.

The multi-pronged skin sensitisation testing strategy involved three methods: a direct peptide reactivity assay (DPRA) [OECD 442C] to form complete antigens by binding the test substance hapten to skin proteins; Keratinocyte Nrf2-ARE luciferase assays [OECD 442D] to induce stress in keratinocytes; and a human cell line activation test h-CLAT [OECD 442E] to activate or ‘mature’ the dendritic cells.

A separate test to assess potential potency of an allergen on the skin – often required by some regulatory agencies – used a kinetic direct peptide reactivity assay (kDPRA) [OECD 442C].

Non-animal alternatives for ‘complex toxicological questions’

BASF and Givaudan were calling the combined, multi-method strategy a “world’s first” ​and said using this combination meant animal testing for allergic skin reactions could now “be completely abandoned”.

Back in January 2020, a review published in the Sage journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals​​ said whilst in vitro​ methods existed to identify skin sensitisers, many still relied on animal-derived products like foetal bovine serum and sera from other animals. The researchers at the time called on more work to completely eradicate use of products of animal origin in these alternative methods.  

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