With the help of a very generous donor, the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. recently announced the winners of a $200,000 award for the development of a ground-breaking new non-animal test.
The goal of the project is to develop multiple non-animal assays and computer models that can be used in combination to predict the inhalation toxicity of nanomaterials, saving countless animals from suffering and dying in inhalation toxicity tests.
The new test will predict the development of lung fibrosis in humans who are exposed to nanomaterials, which are between 1 and 100 nanometers in size (smaller than the thickness of a strand of hair). Lung fibrosis occurs when the normal healing process in humans goes awry, eventually leading to breathing difficulties.
Dr. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser of the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and Dr. Vicki Stone of the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, U.K., will jointly develop the test method.
The Science Consortium is also funding MatTek Corporation to design a human lung-tissue model that will be used in the development of this method.
PETA U.K. previously funded MatTek’s final validation of a tissue model called EpiDerm, which can now be used worldwide to test the reaction of human skin to chemicals—instead of testing them on the sensitive skin of live rabbits, as has been done in the past.
This funding brings the monetary donations of PETA, its international affiliates, and the PETA International Science Consortium toward the development and implementation of non-animal testing methods to $1.8 million, but if we include in-kind donations such as time and materials, the total value rises to a whopping $4 million.