In order to provide safe and reliable products for consumers, careful and reliable evaluations of their safety are mandatory. It is especially important to evaluate skin allergenicity (sensitization) potential of the ingredients because many Kao products come into contact with the skin. Since 2000, Kao has been developing and distributing reliable non-animal technologies for evaluating skin sensitization of chemicals.
In 2016, the "h-CLAT" alternative test method, which focuses on skin immune cell function, was developed from a collaboration of Kao and Shiseido Co., Ltd. The method was adopted as a global standard guideline (OECD test guidelines) and shown to provide high reliability. However, it is known that the "h-CLAT" method, and also other alternative methods, is not enough to accurately predict sensitization potential of chemicals at "stand-alone" because the skin sensitization is a complex biological phenomenon. Therefore, Kao has developed an evaluation system termed "Integrated Testing Strategy (ITS)" that combines "h-CLAT" with alternative methods for focusing on other important phenomena and machine learning models. "ITS" is currently under review by the OECD as the first global standard approach to replace animal testing.
In addition, Kao newly discovered skin sensitization marker genes involved in important phenomenon at keratinocytes, the primary type of skin cell, and developed "EpiSensA", a next-generation alternative test method that uses an artificial skin model as an alternative to skin. This artificial skin model has a structure similar to that of animal skin. In addition, lipophilic raw materials, which cause problems with the existing alternative test method because of low water-solubility, can be applied and evaluated as in animal experiments. "EpiSensA" has great applicability and predictability, thus we are currently conducting international collaboration research targeting the acceptance as global standard.
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