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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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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.


Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.