PETA Funds Development of in vitro Toxicity Test for Exposure to Nanomaterials

The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. announced today the winners of a $200,000 award for the design of an in vitro test to predict the development of lung fibrosis in humans following exposure to nanomaterials, such as multi-walled carbon nanotubes.

Professor Dr. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser of the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and Professor Dr. Vicki Stone of the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, U.K. will jointly develop the test method. Professor Rothen-Rutishauser co-chairs the BioNanomaterials research group at the Adolphe Merkle Institute, where her research is focused on the study of nanomaterial-cell interactions in the lung using three-dimensional cell models. Professor Vicki Stone is the Director of the Nano Safety Research Group at Heriot-Watt University and the Director of Toxicology for SAFENANO.

The Science Consortium is also funding MatTek Corporation for the development of a three-dimensional reconstructed primary human lung tissue model to be used in Professors Rothen-Rutishauser and Stone's work. MatTek Corporation has extensive expertise in manufacturing human cell-based, organotypic in vitro models for use in regulatory and basic research applications. The work at MatTek will be led by Dr. Patrick Hayden, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, and Dr. Anna Maione, head of MatTek's airway models research group.

The three laboratories were chosen based on their qualifications to meet the study design recommendations, which were developed at an expert working group meeting co-organized by the PETA International Science Consortium and the NTP (National Toxicology Program) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM).The February 2015 meeting was attended by international experts from government, industry, academia, and nonprofit organizations and was held at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The long-term goal is to develop additional in vitro assays and computer models that can be used in combination to predict the inhalation toxicity of nanomaterials.

"The PETA International Science Consortium is pleased to fund the development of an in vitro method intended to protect human health and replace the use of rats in 90-day inhalation toxicity tests," says the Science Consortium's Dr. Amy Clippinger. "The labs developing this test are at the forefront of cutting-edge research in the field, and we're excited to collaborate with them on this project."


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