The PETA International Science Consortium, Imperial Brands, Altria Client Services (ALCS), British American Tobacco (BAT), and Philip Morris International have joined together to donate equipment that can help to replace the use of animals in respiratory testing with more human-relevant, non-animal test methods.
The equipment—worth $110,000 and manufactured by Germany-based Vitrocell Systems—was donated to the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a non-profit laboratory in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, that conducts animal-free testing. It will be used in the IIVS in vitro respiratory toxicology laboratory, which helps companies assess the effects of tobacco, nicotine and other aerosols on the human respiratory tract. Results from these tests will also help to show regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, that non-animal methods are accurate and effective and can be used instead of tests on animals.
This donation follows the Science Consortium’s gift of five Vitrocell in vitro exposure systems to laboratories around the world. “This latest donation takes us one step closer to replacing the use of animals in inhalation testing,” says Amy Clippinger, president of the Science Consortium. “Testing chemicals on cells in a way that mimics real-life exposure will lead to more human-relevant results and spare animals’ lives.”
“We are delighted to contribute to the IIVS, a leader in the advancement of alternatives to animal testing, whose principles are in alignment with our own established position on using in vitro assays–preferably using human-derived cells,” says Tanvir Walele, head of scientific research and harm reduction at Imperial Brands. “We believe these assays are a more relevant replacement for in vivo animal testing.”
“We actively support the development, validation, use, and regulatory acceptance of non-animal testing methods to minimize the use of animal tests and are pleased to be one of the companies supporting this donation,” says Maria Gogova, vice president of regulatory sciences at ALCS.
“We are pleased to be an industry partner in this important initiative,” says Marianna Gaca, head of pre-clinical assessment at BAT. “IIVS’ leadership in in vitro approaches should help to ensure the adoption of a non-animal testing paradigm for tobacco and nicotine products. We are witnessing remarkable advances in in vitro methodologies at present; these have several possible applications including much faster test results that are much more physiologically relevant to humans. ”