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News article22 September 20171 min read

Supporting chemical safety assessment with computational models of the skin

Chemical safety assessment with computational models of the skin
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JRC scientists contributed to the review of in silico models that have been developed for the prediction of skin permeability. Such models are relevant for the implementation of EU legislation on chemicals that strongly recommend or require the use of alternative approaches to animal studies.

This review was carried out by scientists involved in the COSMOS project, including members of the JRC’s EU Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal testing (EURL ECVAM). It describes more than 50 computational models for predicting the skin penetrating properties of chemicals. This is an important consideration in the design and safety assessment of various products, and in particular cosmetics and certain pharmaceuticals, which are intentionally applied to the skin.

Prediction models for skin permeability are of particular interest in the light of the current EU legislations. For example, the REACH Regulation strongly recommends or requires the use of alternatives to animal studies, and the Cosmetics Regulation has completely banned the marketing of cosmetic products in the EU that contain ingredients tested on animals after March 2013.

The rate and amount of skin absorption are important pieces of information in the design and safety assessment of chemicals and chemical-containing products. When used in combination with suitable in vitro methods, these types of computational models provide a means of reducing or avoiding the need for animal testing.

The review describes different kinds of modelling approaches, with emphasis on models that make predictions from information on chemical structure. The characteristics of these models are described in a systematic manner, along with the datasets used for model building. The scientific challenges involved are also discussed, along with recommendations for developing high quality models.

The review was carried out by the COSMOS team in the broader context of providing high quality resources, such as datasets and computational models, that could be used to support the safety assessment of cosmetics.

Read more in: Tsakovska I. et al., "Quantitative structure-skin permeability relationships", Toxicology, 387 (2017), pp. 27-42. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2017.06.008

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Publication date
22 September 2017