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by admin last modified 27-03-2007 22:53
COMET ASSAY and CELL ARRAY for genotoxicity testing - non-animal alternative for

Research Activity

The RTD activity will be organized around 5 work packages.

  • Increasing capacity and versatility of the comet assay (WP1)
  • Development of the cell array system (WP2)
  • DNA repair assays (WP3)
  • Standardisation, calibration and validation of the comet assay (WP4)
  • Development and refinement of prototypes (WP5)



A work package is dedicated to the dissemnination activity (WP6).

The research findings, new methods and products arising from this project will be disseminated in various ways:

Patents will be sought for innovative products (PCT submissions and international extensions).

  • A database will be set up for all the innovative protocols, which will be regularly updated. In particular, the collected protocols will be included in the interim and final reports.
  • Research findings, the results of validation studies, calibration of the assays, and guidelines for the use of the assays in in vitro genotoxicity testing will be published in the scientific literature. The articles will normally have joint authorship from at least two of the project partners.
  • Presentations of these results, guidelines etc. will be made at international conferences, to industrial groups, and to pharmaceutical and toxicological societies.
  • A most important audience for the findings, protocols and guidelines will be the regulatory bodies concerned with testing of chemicals, pharmaceuticals etc. It is envisaged that the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), as a partner, will take a crucial role in setting up the prevalidation studies. ECVAM will then be the main channel for evaluating the significance of the new techniques in the battery of tests used in genotoxicity testing, and for dissemination to national and international regulatory bodies within Europe. Recommendations will be made to the European Commission concerning in vitro testing, and in particular the conduct of cytotoxicological and genotoxicological analyses and acute toxicity and metabolism studies.
  • Industrial genotoxicity laboratories will be informed through the scientific literature, at conferences, and through technical and society journals.
  • Having been involved in the comet assay since its earliest days, several members of this consortium are in close contact with others in Europe using the assay. In alternate years, the comet assay community in Europe holds a workshop, which is a valuable forum for disseminating ideas and introducing innovations. We will take full advantage of this opportunity in 2007 and 2009.
  • At later stages in the project, it may be appropriate to invite other (non-partner) laboratories to participate in validation trials, to give further information on method reliability, and also to promote the use of the innovative methods.

Workshops: TATAA Biocenter, a pan-European professional hands-on workshop organizer, will be a key dissemination channel. A programme of intensive, one-week thematic workshops will be organised. The emphasis will be on providing an in-depth understanding of new technologies, and the workshops will include some hands-on experience. The themes will be closely related to the methods to be developed in the COMICS project; the aim is to make the knowledge available to the scientific community outside the consortium and to institutions and companies engaged in the testing of chemicals. The first course-module will teach the basics of the comet assay: how to set up the experiment, how to perform it and how to analyze and interpret the data. A second module will cover the cell array system for investigating cytotoxicity. The third course will be an advanced comet module, dealing with medium and high throughput systems and dual-fluorescence image analysis. A fourth module will be set up on the various kinds of DNA repair assay, and a fifth module on the padlock system combined with rolling circle detection. Initially the partners most knowledgeable in a technology will assist as lecturers and demonstrators in the courses. With time the knowledge will be transferred to TATAA personnel who will take over the courses, hiring the experts as lecturers when needed or requested. The first and second modules will be set up during year 1, and the advanced courses during years 2 and 3. The basic modules are expected to be especially popular and will be offered on several occasions, perhaps every few months from year 2. The more advanced modules will be offered as the demand arises.

COMET ASSAY and CELL ARRAY for genotoxicity testing - non-animal alternative for
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EU funded project