L'oreal and Hurel Corporation (Hurel) have entered into a research and development collaboration to create a new and transformational in vitro test for potential allergic reactions to substances that could come into contact with the skin.

The new device, named ‘Allergy Test on a Chip,’ is intended to comprise a technological substitute for the animal test known as the local lymph node assay (LLNA). LLNA is presently accepted by regulatory agencies worldwide as a standard means for evaluating potential allergenic responses to new ingredients of consumer and industrial products.

R&D activities of the collaboration are being performed by Hurel in the US, with contributions by L’oreal’s scientific team.

Allergy Test on a Chip, a patented embodiment of Hurel’s multi-tissue, microfluidic cell culture technology, will integrate a reconstructed human skin, a separate cell culture capable of simulating a human immune system response (i.e., an allergic reaction) and means of microfluidically-mediated signaling between the skin construct where the allergenic stimulus originates and the immune system construct where the response to that stimulus occurs, said the company.

Jacques Leclaire, director of Life Sciences Research at L’oreal, said: “We are pleased to partner with Hurel in the development of Allergy Test on a Chip, which is totally in line with our 25-year commitment in non-animal toxicology. Hurel’s microdevice represents cutting-edge research and development, directed towards creating a breakthrough technology complementing our efforts in building alternative, integrated testing strategies.

“While the success of this advanced and complex research project is not a certainty, the critical goal it addresses makes it a most worthwhile endeavor for us as a company.”