The BUAV, representing the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), was recently invited to sit in on the annual meeting of the EU alternatives project SEURAT-1. The project was the result of the joint 50 million Euro pledge made by the European Commission and the cosmetics industry (Cosmetics Europe) in 2011. The project is funded under the Framework 7 research programme run by the European Commission, is made up of several smaller projects and will come to an end in 2015.
The aim of the SEURAT-1 project is to work towards new strategies that change the way toxicity testing is done particularly for repeated dose toxicity. The cosmetics industry is supporting it because they can no longer test new cosmetics ingredients on animals for the EU market as of 11 March 2013.
As well as helping to develop alternative methods, the project is clearly playing an important role in training young researchers to work with alternatives, exposing animal researchers to alternative methods and encouraging collaboration between different research disciplines and countries.
The meeting was an opportunity for all the research scientists involved in the project to come together to discuss progress. It was such a heart-warming experience to be in same room as hundreds of scientists completely dedicated to trying to replace animal tests. How far we have come!
The various projects under SEURAT include:
SCR&Tox: -Aims to develop and optimize so-called high throughput (automated and fast) systems models of toxicity using induced pluripotent stem cells
Hemibio- Aims to generate a liver-simulating ‘bioreactor’ mimicking the complex structure and function of the human liver made up of different types of liver cells.
Detective- Aims to evaluate the suitability of existing cell lines for use in developing biomarkers for repeated dose toxicity testing in vitro, focusing on the heart, liver and kidney.
COSMOS-uses computer models and programs to support the projects, including building a database of cosmetic substance with toxicity data for use by other researchers and developing the TTC approach, which is a way of demonstrating that consumers are exposed to such minuscule levels that any testing is pointless. There is now a large database available to the public for research http://www.cosmostox.eu/home/welcome/
NOTOX- Is developing computer models that can be used with 3D cell-based tests and human information to predict toxicity.
For more information visit http://www.seurat-1.eu/