We are currently investigating a range of specific in vitro models relevant to a number of tobacco related diseases. The aim of these in vitro models is to develop physiologically relevant screening tools that will help us to understand and investigate the mechanisms of cigarette smoke toxicity as well as to identify and assess disease related biomarkers. In addition they can be used to determine whether a change in cigarette smoke composition results in a change in the response of one or more of these models. A similar approach is used by other industries who are interested in developing in vitro models in order to reduce animal experimentation – the standard approach for testing pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Our current research programmes are focused on developing in vitro models relevant to a number of tobacco related diseases and disease processes. These include inflammation and oxidative stress, which can initiate numerous pathological processes and contribute to the development of various diseases, as well as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). All of which represent complex multifactorial diseases of which smoking is a significant risk factor. Each of these programmes are described in detail on the following pages:-
In addition to modelling complex disease processes in vitro our, research programme also investigates the use of genotoxic assays for the assessment of cigarette smoke and constituents.
Where possible we try to avoid in vivo testing in our research programme, however, this is not always possible. When we do conduct in vivo studies, we attempt to cross-validate our in vitro markers with in vivo end-points. We hope that this will help us develop and validate new in vitro tests that will limit the need and requirement for in vivo work.
Furthermore, we actively participate in and support the industry forum IVTIP, which stands for In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform.