Researchers at Newcastle University have come up with a simple lab test, Skimune, to test for reactions to cosmetics, drugs and household products. It uses human skin and immune cells to reveal reactions such as rashes or blistering that might indicate a wider immune response within the body. The test arose out of testing for skin graft and bone marrow reactions after transplant surgery.
“This skin assay offers an accurate and rapid alternative to animal testing and provides the bridge between the laboratory tests for novel drugs and the first stage of clinical trials in humans,” said Professor Anne Dickinson from the Institute of Cellular Medicine, who recently presented Skimune at the In-Vitro Testing Industrial Platform (IVTIP) conference in Brussels.
“It is accurate and faster than anything currently around and can save companies time and resources,” she added. “The test identifies drugs or products which are likely to cause a reaction or just not work effectively in humans. We’ve already shown this works as a way of testing new drugs for adverse immune reactions that can’t be identified when tested in animal models.”
Skimune is trademarked and patent-pending but has been successfully tested by a number of large pharmaceutical companies on drugs in development and is said to provide a reliable result within two weeks.
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