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Hope for non-animal testing

Skin model proves a successful testing method

Researchers have found that a model replicating the traits of human skin could provide a replacement for animals in future clinical research.

A study taking place at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) in Belgium, found that a skin sensitisation assay can successfully identify chemicals causing human allergic responses.

The research team used a three-dimensional, human-derived skin model, which replicates key traits of normal human skin.

This could replace the use of guinea pigs or mice, which are injected with or have substances applied to their skin to determine allergic reactions.

Researchers found that the model accurately predicated each chemical's ability to cause an allergic response for all of the compounds tested.

These findings support those reported by Michigan-based research organisation, CeeTox, who created the skin sensitisation assay.

Further validation studies will be carried out, and the results are to be submitted to the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, which officially approves the methods of chemical testing required by law.

The announcement follows a recent ban in Europe on the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.

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Committee to advise on research animals
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Hedgehog project launched at Edinburgh campus

News Story 1
 The University of Edinburgh has launched a hedgehog-friendly project at its Easter Bush Campus, which is home to the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

A survey is being carried out at the campus to assess how many hedgehogs are in the area. A team of around 20 volunteers installed 10 small tunnels in different locations and they will track footprints to gauge hedgehog presence.

Landscape experts are also creating habitats where the mammals can eat, shelter and breed. It is hoped that student projects will be developed at an open day on 12 October. 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Irelandís airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Irelandís animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.