New funding to the amazing XCellR8 laboratory

Posted on the 19th February 2024

Today we are thrilled to announce that we have made another grant to the groundbreaking XCellR8 laboratory, the developers of AcutoX.

AcutoX is a completely animal-free replacement for rodent use in lethal oral toxicity tests, which was launched last year and is already being used by multinational companies and being discussed by the regulators in the United States.

AcutoX was developed to replace the LD50 test which gives increasing doses of a substance to animals until half of them are dead. This test is not only hideously cruel, but is also scientifically irrelevant. As long ago as 1981, one expert said:

‘At one company a substance produced such variable LD50 figures in different animals that the toxicologists had no idea what the effects of the substance might be on humans at all, and had to resort to trying a small dose on some volunteers from the staff.’

And we know the LD50 does not reflect a real-life scenario. Someone in a shower might accidentally swallow a small amount of very dilute shampoo, but they are not likely to accidentally drink several litres of neat shampoo.

Our new grant will build on the solid foundation of AcutoX, combining this with innovative technology to develop a non-animal replacement for inhalational toxicity tests (Lethal Concentration 50% – LC50). The animal-based LC50, in common with the LD50,  aims to kill half of the animals being used. The animals are placed into plastic tubes where their nose is exposed, but they cannot move backwards, turn around or escape. They are then forced to inhale substances, sometimes for many hours, in order to ascertain the LC50 – the concentration of a substance which is lethal to 50% of the animals. The sheer torture of this procedure is clear.

We have campaigned against lethal dose toxicity tests in animals since 1979 and are optimistic that XCellR8, a GLP (Good Laboratory Practice)-approved lab, will bring to market another test to replace the use of animals in unrealistic and scientifically unreliable animal tests.

‘We are absolutely delighted to once again "put our money where our mouth is" and to financially support XCellR8’s pioneering work to replace animals in lethal and scientifically irrelevant tests. That animals should be restrained for hours, unable to move away from the suffocating and terrifying substance they are being forced to inhale is absolutely terrifying. Please take a moment to imagine yourself in this situation and how you would feel.

We want an end to these tests now – they are scientifically irrelevant, horrifically cruel – and there will be no excuse for them to continue once this new test is developed.’

Iain Green, Director of Animal Aid

‘We’re thrilled to be continuing our work with Animal Aid, who have already supported the development of AcutoX through a previous grant to XCellR8. The animal tests for inhalation toxicity are almost 100 years old, and these days we have much more sophisticated science available. Using the latest human-relevant technologies, we can combine measurement of local effects in the lung, with systemic effects in case a chemical gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The replacement of animal testing isn’t only better ethics. Application of the latest science in safety testing leads to safer products for humans, too.’

Dr Carol Treasure, Founder of XCellR8

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