INVITROLIZE, the latest spin-off of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), inaugurated its new lab on 27 April at Belvaux.
Chemical-induced respiratory sensitization is a global health issue that can result in allergic respiratory tract diseases. However, commonly available and validated methods for identifying skin sensitizers do not differentiate between skin and respiratory allergens. An important challenge here is thus the lack of established in vivo or in vitro techniques for detecting and describing chemical respiratory allergens, as well as differentiating them from contact allergens. This creates a significant roadblock for industries as they are unable to determine if a new product is a sensitizer until it is already produced or in the market. INVITROLIZE, a LIST spin-off created in 2022, has come up with a solution to this problem. With its innovative 3D alveolar in vitro model ALIsensTM, it is for the first time possible to predict hazardous respiratory sensitization under realistic exposure conditions and early in product development. The in vitro models are built using human cell lines based on a patented methodology and the technology avoids animal testing.
Created by LIST researchers within the Environmental Health Group of the Environmental Research and Innovation Department, the innovation has come a long way since its inception in 2008. Born as a self -funded project by LIST its evolution has followed the path of any such ambitious research enterprise. Following encouraging first results, two PhD students (Sebastien Klein and Aline Chary) were recruited to develop the technology. Two projects funded by the FNR (Luxembourg National Research Fund) and some ten years later the idea became a reality, a proof of concept / prototype was built and patented. Along the way, it has gone on to receive numerous prestigious prizes and have been tested in EU funded projects which have edged this frontier
research closer to market.
INVITROLIZE has already proved its mettle with companies such as EVONIK and today, with the opening of its new lab, is now poised for further growth.
“It has been a lot of hard work involving many dedicated people in my group,” said Arno Gutleb, Managing Direct or of INVITROLIZE. “I look forward to start this new chapter of INVITROLIZE and in my career.”