For providing safe and secure products, it is important to confirm the products' safety, not only for current consumers but also for future generations. At the same time, we believe that eliminating animal testing is the right way to go. Kao therefore is actively devising alternative methods that can be used instead of animal experiments for chemical testing.
Individuals construct their bodies via complex embryonic developmental processes. Thus, it is considered that in vitro evaluation of chemical toxicity against embryonic development is extremely difficult. At Kao, we are therefore attempting to establish a method for accurate and fast prediction of such toxicity using zebrafish early embryos.
In our current research, we have succeeded in establishing such a platform for not only detecting detailed craniofacial anomalies, but also quantifying the anomalies for teratogenicity assessment using imaging technology with confocal microscopy of zebrafish early embryos. Moreover, using comprehensive RNA sequencing and transcriptomic profiling with next-generation sequencing, the molecular mechanisms underlying such abnormalities have been unraveled.
We will expand these techniques to evaluate other teratogenic effects of chemicals and ultimately aim to establish a mechanism-based teratogenicity prediction method that will be acceptable worldwide. This will advance Kao's ability to continually provide safe and secure products based on scientific research to consumers all over the world. Furthermore, our findings will shed light on the fields of diagnosis and drug discovery, as they will be accessed for early diagnosis of birth defects, as well as development of preventive medicines.
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