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How is RIFM collaborating on animal-alternative methods for developmental toxicity?

Kaushal Joshi, PhD

Scientists at the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) strive to ensure the safe use of fragrances while avoiding animal testing at all costs. As a result, there is a constant need for New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) to refine our understanding of safe use in the absence of animal testing. This need is critical for assessing reproductive toxicity, which was dependent on animal testing in the past.

From March 19-23, 2023, RIFM scientists will attend the Society of Toxicology (SOT) 62nd Annual Meeting and present recent collaborative research on one such animal-alternative model: a pilot study on a human-induced pluripotent cell model for developmental toxicity. A pluripotent cell is a stem cell that can transform into all types of cells in the body (e.g., skin cells, red blood cells, lung cells).

Watch: Kaushal Joshi, PhD, on presenting at SOT

In two collaborative studies, RIFM and colleagues from molecular biomarker developer Stemina and animal-alternative-focused biotech company Toxys evaluated 10 fragrance materials in Stemina’s devTOX quick predict assay and the reprotracker assay by Toxys. These assays can potentially predict developmental toxicity as effectively as in vivo (in the body) tests. The results from both assays showed a good correlation with available in vivo studies for the 10 fragrance materials. In addition, the specificity for both assays was excellent.

While more data are needed, these studies are an essential step toward developing a reliable way of testing the potential of fragrance materials to cause developmental toxicity, especially since there are currently no regulatory-approved in vitro assays for this endpoint.

Senior Scientist Kaushal Joshi, PhD, leads RIFM’s Repeated Dose and Reproductive Toxicology research and safety assessment programs.

Related: A video introduction to what RIFM will present at SOT’s 2023 Annual Meeting