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November 01, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 19)

Animal-Free Toxicity Testing and Drug Screening

Epithelix Develops Artificial Tissues that Model the Lining of the Airway and Lungs

  • Portfolio Developments

    In addition to MucilAir, Epithelix sells primary human cells isolated from nasal (hAECN) and bronchial (hAECB) biopsies and pulmonary fibroblasts. The hAECN and hAECB products are commonly used for in vitro studies related to pulmonary diseases and chemical testing. They are standard for research on asthma, COPD, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and bacterial and viral infections, Dr. Constant notes, adding that they are particularly useful for screening, testing, and validating drug candidates. Epithelix’ tissue-engineering technology platform transfers to other types of tissues, and the next generation of products in the pipeline will be liver and skin tissue cultures.

    “The beauty of our technology is that we can ship ready-to-use tissue worldwide. Scientists can use our tissue as soon as it is received, and there’s no need to culture it.”  

    “The key message,” says Dr. Constant, “is that we have to think about the long-term effects of chemicals.” The current in vitro systems expose cells to chemicals and give only short-term results. However, many chemicals have long-term effects, and repeated exposures must be analyzed. “Now we have a tool to do long-term testing.”

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