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Thursday, 01. January 2009 /


Project title:


Project leader:

Otmar Schmid, Anke-Gabriele Lenz  

Financial support: 10'000 Euro    
Project background:

To detect the effect of short or long term inhalation of toxins on the organism, animals – primarily rodents – are being exposed to polluted air. Healthy animals are placed into an inhalation chamber and exposed to the possible toxin for a defined period of time and then observed for abnormalities. To this aim, toxins may be injected into the lung (such as LPS or silica to simulate inflammatory lung diseases), or lung parts may be damaged either mechanically or by radiation, and the animals are then exposed to aerosol substances. Afterwards the animals are observed and/or dissected.  

Such inhalation experiments are very stressful, harmful and painful to the rodents, and, as a screening method for human drugs, not totally suitable due to the physiological lung differences between rodents and humans. Finding an alternative method closer to the human physiology is therefore highly desirable.  

For this reason, Animalfree Research financially contributed to the development of the “Air-Liquid Interface Cell Exposure System”, in short ALICE-CLOUD, in 2009. This in vitro test uses human lung epithelial cells to test aerosol toxins or compounds. The aim of the project was to find an easy-to-use, widely applicable method which would reduce the use of animals for the respiratory field of research (including basic research, research & development and diagnostics).    




Lenz et al. (2009): A dose-controlled system for air-liquid interface cell exposure and application to zinc oxide nanoparticles. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 6: 32.    


Since the commercial launching of ALICE-CLOUD/ALI in 2013 by the company VITROCELL®, a double-digit number of systems have been put into operation. The system can be purchased in different variations.