Thank God- Japanese researchers develop artificial corneal tissue that may spare rabbits from makeup tests

Japanese researchers have developed artificial corneal tissue that could be used in toxicity tests for cosmetics, a finding that could mean live rabbits will no longer be used for these tests. The research team at the National Institute of Agrobiological Societies in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, announced the breakthrough in an online British science journal. The safety of new chemical substances used in cosmetics is currently tested on the eyes of rabbits, so developing an alternative method had been urgently sought from the perspective of animal protection.

Senior researcher Toshiaki Takezawa and others of the institute created 0.05-millimeter-thick corneal tissue by adding artificially developed human corneal epithelial cells cultivated for research to an ultrathin collagen sheet.The research team measured the toxicity level in just three minutes by counting the number of cells destroyed in the corneal tissue after adding a chemical substance to it. The team tried 30 chemical substances used in previous toxicity tests and found that the new method produced the same results in 27 of them.

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The National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) is the largest agricultural research institute in Japan for basic life sciences. As a major research institute of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), it was formerly known as the National Institute of Agrobiological Resources (NIAR) until it was re-established as an independent administrative institution in April 1, 2001.

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