It uses real human skin and immune cells to show any reaction such as a rash or blistering indicating a wider immune response within the body.
The development is timely as it offers a reliable alternative for the cosmetic industry as a ban on the sale of any cosmetic product tested on animals came into effect across Europe in March.
Professor Anne Dickinson from the Institute of Cellular Medicine recently presented the technology at the In-Vitro Testing Industrial Platform (IVTIP) conference in Brussels. She said: "This skin assay offers an accurate and rapid alternative to animal testing and provides the bridge between the laboratory tests for novel drugs and the first stage of clinical trials in humans.
"It is accurate and faster than anything currently around and can save companies time and resources. The test identifies drugs or products which are likely to cause a reaction or just not work effectively in humans."
The test called Skimune™, which is trademarked and has a patent pending, has been successfully tested by a number of large pharmaceutical companies on drugs in development and provides a reliable result within two weeks.
By revealing skin sensitisation or an adverse reaction that may not be identified by use of an animal or computer model, the assay can provide vital information which will allow a drug company to make informed decisions earlier saving significant development costs.
Professor Dickinson said: "We've already shown this works as a way of testing new drugs for adverse immune reactions that can't be identified when tested in animal models."
Working with the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) the Newcastle team have been testing monoclonal antibodies for adverse responses. Professor Dickinson added: "Our Skimune™ test would have predicted the terrible outcome at Northwick Park in 2006. Then six men taking part in a clinical trial had severe reactions to a monoclonal antibody resulting in organ failure. Previous laboratory and animal research gave no indication that this was likely to occur.
"Our test would have picked up the risk because it is a skin-based model of the human immune response."
The skin assay has been developed using cells isolated from blood samples from a range of healthy volunteers. Differentiated into dendritic cells which activate the T-cells, these in turn create a cytokine storm. Useful for fighting infection, if this immune response goes unchecked it can be extremely harmful to the individual. Skimune™ provides a histology skin damage read out enabling the severity and potency of reaction to be gauged.
Professor Richard Stebbings, principle scientist at NIBSC welcomed the development adding: "This assay offers a valuable alternative to animal models, used for safety testing of biological medicines and which are often poorly predictive of human responses."
Professor Anne Dickinson has spent 20 years working to understand how we prevent the body rejecting donor tissue such as bone marrow. This technology has been developed from a skin explant model for predicting a potentially serious complication of bone marrow transplantation, 'graft versus host' disease - a common complication following the transplant.
It has been supported by the UK's innovation agency with a Technology Strategy Board grant for the development of a prototype.
As well as patent pending the Skimune™ test, the Newcastle University team have set up a company Alcyomics Limited which aims to take the technology forward to offer personalised medicine, enabling an individual to be tested for drug responses.
More information on the technology can be found on http://www.alcyomics.com.
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology