During the annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, Michelle Lee and Audrey Turley from Nelson Laboratories were two of eleven authors awarded Best Overall Abstract for “Round Robin Study to Evaluate the Reconstructed Human Epidermis (RHE) Model as In Vitro Skin Irritation Test for Detection of Irritant Activity in Medical Device Extracts”. This abstract resulted in a poster presentation on the results of a worldwide collaboration to demonstrate the application of an in vitro skin irritation method for medical devices.
The acceptance of this method could significantly reduce the animal testing needed when determining the biocompatibility of medical devices. The initiative to reduce animal testing has primarily been led by Europe, but US regulatory bodies are adopting the initiative as well.
The irritation test is based on exposing RHE to device or material extracts, then performing a viability assay (using an MTT assay) where limits have been established to determine irritation potential based on an adopted method for chemicals from OECD 439: In Vitro Irritation: Reconstructed Human Epidermis Test Method.
Nelson Laboratories has been involved with this project long before it came to SOT, through our membership on the ISO working group for irritation. We have worked in conjunction with medical device manufacturers for this round robin. Look for a review of the official publication for this groundbreaking work in the near future.