In vitro toxicology is a field of toxicology that uses in vitro (Latin for “in glass”) techniques, such as cell and tissue cultures, to study the effects of chemicals, drugs, and other substances on living cells and tissues. In vitro techniques allow researchers to observe and measure specific cellular responses to a particular substance, without using whole animals.
In vitro toxicology has become an important tool in drug development, as well as in the safety testing of chemicals and consumer products. By using in vitro techniques, researchers can identify potential toxic effects of substances at an early stage in the drug development process, allowing for the identification and elimination of potentially harmful substances before they reach animal or human testing.
In vitro toxicology techniques can also be used to replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals in safety testing. For example, the Draize eye test, which involves testing the effects of chemicals on the eyes of live animals, has been largely replaced by in vitro techniques such as the bovine corneal opacity and permeability (BCOP) assay, which uses isolated corneas from cow eyes to test the effects of substances on eye tissue.
Overall, in vitro toxicology plays an important role in the development and safety testing of chemicals and drugs, as well as in the movement towards more ethical and humane approaches to scientific research.