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Japanese Firms

October 4, 2006

TOKYO: The National Institute of Health Sciences and seven firms, including Shiseido Co. and Kao Corp. are developing a practical version of a cosmetics allergen test that uses human cells instead of laboratory animals.
Shiseido and Kao co-developed the test’s underlying process, which uses human white blood cells to gauge allergic reactions. The cells are combined with a cosmetic compound and a special reagent. Whether the compound would cause an allergic reaction with the skin can be determined by evaluating changes in the cell wall. Results are available in two days, compared with the two months needed for tests using animals.
The research arms of the seven firms and others are currently verifying whether the human-cell-based tests produce the same results as the animal tests and fifty types of allergens have already been screened.

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