UK lab given £50k for testing method that uses donated skin

XCellR8 has been awarded a Horizon 2020 grant to develop its animal testing alternative method that relies on donations of cells from cosmetic surgery patients

XCellR8, a UK non-animal testing laboratory, has received a £50,000 European grant from Horizon 2020 to invest in a testing method that uses human cells donated by cosmetic surgery patients.

The human cell-based method of testing cosmetics products includes the use of artificial models of human skin and eyes reconstructed from cells donated by patients undergoing cosmetic surgery.

regulatory authorities are tightening up on the claims brands are making about their products – such as ‘anti-ageing’ – which means they need to substantiate their claims with data

Carol Treasure, Co-Founder and MD of XCellR8

XCellR8 said it believes it is the only industrial testing laboratory developing new and redeveloping existing testing methods to eliminate the use of animals.

The test method is an acute toxicity testing method aimed at meeting both the safety demands of EU REACH regulations and ethical demands of the EU Cosmetic Regulation.

Carol Treasure, Co-Founder and MD of XCellR8, said the laboratory is confident that using human skin cells will give “robust” test results for human toxicity, which are more accurate and reproducible than any animal test.

She said: “As cosmetics become increasingly sophisticated and include more active ingredients, the regulatory authorities are tightening up on the claims brands are making about their products – such as ‘anti-ageing’ – which means they need to substantiate their claims with data.

“And the current regulations, while necessary, threaten to stifle innovation because without having ‘in vitro’ tests – i.e. not tested on living things – that meet both REACH and the Cosmetics Regulation, new chemical ingredients can’t be tested or marketed.”

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU research and innovation programme. The funding it allocates to XCellR8 will provide support for the laboratory to develop its test and move closer to regulatory approval.

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