Europe is the best place for animal testing alternatives – expert

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

With the race on to find alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics, an expert in the area of new technologies for health care believes that Europe is the place to find the newest technologies.

Cindy Morrissey, CEO and president of Emerging Healthcare Solutions, says a recent research trip to Germany drew attention to the fact that alternative testing solutions there, are already at an advanced stage thanks to research in to stem cell innovation.

Morrissey met with the scientific team involved with regenerative medicine at the University of Tubignen, near Stuttgart, in Southern Germany.

Skin plates from stem cells

Morrissey says her attention was drawn to a project involving a bioreactor designed to grow skin plates from stem cells that can remain viable without having to be transplanted into the human body.

“These skin plates could be used to replace animal test subjects in the cosmetics industry when animal testing is outlawed in the US in 2012,”​ Morrissey said.

“Some of the most eye-opening stem cell research in the world is being conducted right here [in Europe],”​ she added.

Alternatives to animal testing

The team at the University of Tubignen are working on several specific projects that are likely to be of interest to companies seeking alternatives to animal testing, both for the cosmetics and personal care industry, as well as health care.

Under the Cosmetics Directive of 2009 there is both a testing ban in the European Union (a ban on testing cosmetics ingredients on animals) and a marketing ban (a ban on marketing products that contain ingredients that have been tested on animals elsewhere).

However, the marketing ban was introduced in a staggered fashion, depending on the test. Most endpoints, for example skin and eye irritancy, were included in the 2009 ban, but some were scheduled for a ban in 2013.

The EU and the US have worked together through the Transatlantic Economic Council to harmonize these objectives, and although there has been criticism that less has been done in the US to outlaw animal testing, the FDA aims to be in line with progress in the EU.

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