VITO – The Flemish Establishment for Technological Research

Research program

For a three-year research program to develop an alternative test to the animal Draize test for testing pharmaceutical eye treatments and cosmetics.  The Draize test, which involves using rabbits, measures the harmfulness of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics to humans by observing the damage they cause to the eyes and skin of animals. The research program involves improving a Bovine Cornea Opacity and Permeability (BCOP) Assay by using a new constructed opacitometer with laser light and adapting the cornea holders to create a real in vivo situation when eyes are exposed to compounds. These modifications should allow a more accurate definition of the eye irritating potential of compounds and a more precise ranking of mild to non-irritating compounds, making the modified BCOP a valuable alternative to animal testing for predicting chemical class reactions.

The Flemish Establishment for Technological Research, abbreviated as VITO, was established in 1991 as a public body and not-for profit-research organization by the Flemish Government on behalf of the Flemish Region. The purpose of VITO is to perform integrated technological research in three areas: energy, the environment, and raw materials including new materials. VITO’s activities take place in accordance with international quality standards and the organization works closely with companies, governments, universities and other research institutions, both in Belgium and abroad. VITO has collaborated on a range of international research programs, publications and presentations at international conferences and symposia. VITO has been working for a number of years on developing and validating alternative tests for animal testing through CARDAM, the Center for Advanced Research & Development on Alternative Methods.