Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Novel method for a more "ethical" testing of skin products

An innovative method based on the chorioallantoic membrane of the avian egg has been modified for conducting pre-clinical dermatological testing of drugs and chemicals.
Novel method for a more "ethical" testing of skin products
Nowadays, investigations on human skin in-vivo may be prohibited due to the extensive use of expensive and sensitive immune-deficient mice. Such studies include testing of therapies for treating skin disease and pharmaceuticals/cosmetics as well as studies on modifying hair growth. Apart from the ethical reasons, there are also medical limitations as in many cases examination involves component cells of the skin and not the entire organ.

Answering this need, Israeli researchers advanced a previously used method for the development of anti-cancer treatments, the vascularised Chorio-Allantoic Membrane (CAM) of the chicken egg. The extended and perfected CAM method allows the successful growth of intact human and mouse skin in eleven days maximum. Since no nerve endings are included, it is painless for the chick unlike other conventionally used techniques employing mice and pigs.

The innovative CAM technique is highly consistent, rapid, simple and less costly than other testing studies that use immune-deficient mice. Additionally, it reduces the needs for experimental animals and human volunteers while it involves significantly less regulatory permissions as the used human skin is "discarded skin". Moreover, chick embryos are not considered as experimentation animals and therefore no permissions are demanded.

The CAM method can find a broad range of commercial applications in the fields of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics as well as in other areas where skin testing is needed for product safety. Some examples include development of gene therapy techniques for treating skin disease, testing of cosmetics/hair colour/shampoo/soap in terms of irritative/allergic potential, anti-viral and anti-bacterial preparations on human skin and others. Industrial partners are sought for license agreements.
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