Public Release: 

PETA science group and epithelix award researchers tools to replace animal tests

Three winners to receive free three-dimensional lung tissues worth combined $10,000

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Geneva - The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. and Epithelix Sàrl are pleased to award three researchers three-dimensional tissue models that will be used to assess the effect of substances on the human respiratory tract. The winners were chosen based on the scientific merit of their proposals and their potential for using the tissues to replace animals in inhalation testing.

The first-place winner, Kristine Nishida of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will receive Epithelix tissues valued at $5,000 and will use them to study the health effects of inhaling cigarette smoke. Two people tied for second place - Dr Chang Guo of Public Health England, who will use the tissues for nanomaterial toxicity testing, and Dr Richard Gminski of the University of Freiburg in Germany, who will evaluate the efficacy of drugs on antibiotic-resistant bacteria - and they will each receive tissues valued at $2,500.

Manufactured by Swiss-based biotechnology company Epithelix, these easy-to-use three-dimensional tissues - MucilAirTM or SmallAirTM - mimic different areas of the respiratory tract. They can be exposed to test substances in ways that simulate realistic human exposure and can be used to test cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, pesticides, household products, cigarette smoke, and viruses without harming animals. In the animal tests that these tissues can replace, rats in narrow tubes are forced to inhale toxic substances for hours on end before being killed.

"I warmly thank all the researchers who submitted proposals - they were all excellent!" says Epithelix COO and co-founder Dr Samuel Constant. "Epithelix is honored to contribute to accelerating the adoption of in vitro methods in the respiratory field."

"With excellent proposals from all over the world, it was difficult to limit the number of winners," says Consortium Director Dr Amy Clippinger. "However, these three proposals show great promise for replacing tests on animals, and we look forward to seeing the results."

The contest is just one of the many efforts being made by the Consortium to replace the use of animals in inhalation testing. Others include hosting webinars and workshops, funding the development of animal-free methods, donating essential testing equipment, and more.

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The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. works to accelerate the development, validation, and global implementation of animal-free testing. It was established in 2012 to coordinate the scientific and regulatory expertise of its members - PETA, PETA UK, PETA Germany, PETA India, PETA Netherlands, PETA France, PETA Asia, and PETA Australia. The Consortium and its members have donated millions of dollars towards helping to reduce and replace animal use.

Epithelix Sàrl is a biotechnology company dedicated to providing in vitro solutions to evaluating the effects of drugs in development and assessing the toxicity of chemical compounds on the human respiratory tract. Founded in 2006, Epithelix is Europe's leading provider of in vitro reconstituted human respiratory tissues and has won numerous national and international awards.

For more information, please visit PISCLtd.org.uk or Epithelix.com.

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