UPDATE : Monday, June 1, 2020
OECD guideline OKs Korean-developed eye irritation test
  • By Lee Hye-seon
  • Published 2019.04.22 15:33
  • Updated 2019.04.23 11:47
  • comments 0

Eye irritation test developed in Korea has won the approval as the test guideline of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The designation was the world’s fourth, after the U.S., France, and Japan, recognizing it as an alternative to an animal experiment for eye irritation.

Conventional eye irritation tests use rabbits to check the possibility of eye irritation. However, many countries ban animal tests, and the trends made it significant to establish an alternative test in Korea.

The latest test uses and cultures leftover cells after cornea implantation to make a cornea model similar to human eye tissues and to evaluate how a chemical stimulus irritates eyes.

The 3D reconstructed human cornea epithelium model, reconstructed using human corneal epithelial cells, has morphological microstructure and biomarker expressions similar to those of actual human corneal epithelium.

Professor Lim Kyung-min of Ewha Womans University College of Pharmac developed the model, which was verified by a validation study by the Korean Centers for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM) from February 2016 to December 2017.

The approval of the test method is likely to help save costs because eye irritation test models used to depend on overseas ones heavily. The new test also takes a shorter period compared to the conventional ones, and can additionally analyze biomarkers which will help cosmetics developers.

“The approval of the test method with a shorter time for product development will lead to an innovative growth of Korea’s cosmetics industry. We will help develop and expand tests that can replace animal experiments in other sectors,” the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said.

The OECD Working Group of National Coordinators of the Test Guideline Programme (WNT) approved the test method in its 31st meeting held from April 9-12.


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