Project Details


Human lungs are constantly exposed to environmental and chemical substances in the air. Certain inhaled substances or particles can cause damage to the lung (e.g. asbestos) or be taken up into the blood stream and cause toxicity in the body. New chemicals and medicines that could enter the lungs must be tested for safety before they can be marketed. Currently, this often involves animal studies (rats, mice, dogs) and these models are often costly, time consuming and do not provide a good representation of human lungs, leading to inaccurate assessment of safety. Human lung cells grown in the laboratory are also used for assessing the toxicity of inhaled compounds, however these tests generally only involve one type of cell and are not representative of the complex nature of the lung.
We have developed and validated a novel human cell-based model using the two main cell types in the small airways of the lung. Immune cells and barrier cells have been grown together in the model to assess, (i) the initial immune response; (ii) the permeation of substances into the blood stream; (iii) the interaction between immune and barrier cells and (iv) the recovery of cells after exposure. In contrast with many existing models, the cells can be exposed to compounds as aerosols to better mimic real life exposure conditions. We have demonstrated improved toxicity predictions and anticipate that it would replace current cell assays and reduce the number of animal studies required in inhalation toxicity assessment.

Effective start/end date17/09/187/03/19


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