P&G approved for first non-animal alternative to skin allergy testing

For the first time ever, a non-animal alternative to skin allergy tests has been officially approved by key European and international authorities. Skin allergy is a complex process, and an important safety test for almost all ingredients. As a result, the test — known as DPRA (Direct Peptide Reactivity Assay) — marks a milestone in eliminating the need for animal testing.

In this new test, ingredients are added to small test tubes and their potential to react with peptides, mimicking skin proteins, is measured. The test shows if an ingredient is a potential allergen, and whether it poses a safety risk. "It was our belief that the best way to find robust alternatives was to build them based on our understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular steps of skin sensitization. Based on the knowledge that there is a strong correlation of protein reactivity with skin sensitization potential, we published our first paper in 2004 describing the DPRA as an approach to evaluate ingredients for their skin sensitization potential. Our goal was to develop a simple assay that could travel easily to laboratories around the world.", Dr. Gerberick, Director and Research Fellow at P&G says.

"We know that the development of alternative tests, from initial idea to acceptance by government authorities, can be a challenging and lengthy process. As a result, we are incredibly pleased that the DPRA has received the final official recommendation from a group of independent authority experts.", Dr. Gerberick adds.

Read more about P&G’s first approved non-animal alternative for skin allergy testing.

OECD adopted Guideline for the DPRA

For his continued research and groundbreaking achievements in developing alternatives to animal testing, Dr. Gerberick recently received two prestigious awards from independent animal alternative and animal welfare organizations.

The William and Eleanor Cave Award 2014 was presented by the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF). ARDF President Sue Leary explained, "This recognition is for Frank Gerberick's impressive career achievements in developing alternative test methods. He has been a real leader in the field. Frank donated the honorarium of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) from this award to be applied to ARDF's Alternatives Research Grant Program, which funds alternatives research at universities throughout the U.S. and the world”.

The Lush Prize awards breakthrough progress in developing non-animal alternatives and for advocating their use globally. With a total sum of £250,000 annual fund it is the biggest prize in the non-animal testing sector. Dr. Gerberick was one of four scientists to receive the first “Lush Black Box Prize award”. The Judges believe that the DPRA represents a breakthrough moment in the field of alternatives research. It allows a view into the ‘black box’ of traditional safety testing by mapping what skin allergy pathways are taking place in humans. The recognition included a £25,000 prize which P&G will be donating to animal welfare and further non-animal alternatives research. 

Read more about Dr. Gerberick's awards: