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Accelerating the validation of in vitro methods using a high throughput screening platform

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Apr 30, 2012
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EURL ECVAM used an automated robotic in vitro testing platform to generate the data needed for the purposes of validation

Animal-free testing strategies for determining toxicological hazard of chemicals rely heavily on data derived from in vitro assays. Although many new in vitro methods are becoming available, either from commercial developers or as output from EC funded research projects for example, the validation of these methods for use in regulatory safety assessment poses a significant challenge. Typically it can take many months or even years to generate a sufficient dataset on enough reference chemicals on which to base a decision as to whether a particular assay is reliable and fit-for-purpose. 

Applying a novel approach, the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM), hosted by the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, has demonstrated for the first time how an automated robotic in vitro testing platform can be used to generate the data needed for the purposes of validation, in a rapid and precise manner. This "high throughput" validation approach is expected to expedite the screening of promising assays to identify the high-performers that should be taken forward for further assessment. 

Read full article:

Mounir Bouhifd, Gilles Bories, Juan Casado, Sandra Coecke, Hedvig Norlén, Nicholaos Parissis, Robim M. Rodrigues, Maurice P. Whelan, 'Automation of an in vitro cytotoxicity assay used to estimate starting doses in acute oral systemic toxicity tests', in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 50, Issue 6, June 2012, Pages 2084–2096; doi:10.1016/j.fct.2012.03.046

Photo: Assay technologies and High-Throughput Screening (HTS): Staining platform deck close-up with operator hand. Copyright EU 2010.