EU Science Hub

Reducing animal testing for skin allergies

A skin allergy test on the forearm of a person.
Mar 02 2015

The JRC has validated and recommended a new method which is not based on animal testing, to identify chemicals that can trigger skin allergies, estimated to affect already 20% of the population in Europe.

The human Cell Line Activation Test (h-CLAT) has been developed by industry and validated by the JRC managed European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM). It will help the identification of chemicals that can lead to allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), one of the most common occupational diseases, and therefore allow the number of animals currently used for this purpose to be reduced. So far the potential of chemicals to induce skin allergies was tested on mice and guinea-pigs.

Following the validation process ECVAM now recommends the use of h-CLAT in the context of integrated approaches to testing and assessment, i.e. together with data from other non-animal methods and computer model (in silico) predictions.

The recommendation aims to inform scientific discussions at OECD in view of developing an OECD Test Guideline on the h-CLAT. The OECD Test Guidelines are internationally agreed test methods used by government, industry and independent laboratories. They are used to determine the safety of chemicals and chemical preparations, including pesticides and industrial chemicals.

Previous ECVAM work on skin sensitisation

Two other recommendations issued by EURL ECVAM on non-animal methods for skin sensitisation testing, the DPRA and KeratinoSensTM, recently led to the adoption of these methods as OECD Test Guidelines 442C and 442D.