In vitro method for quantitative potency assessment of skin sensitizers during development of novel materials for intended use in medical devices

Joint poster with Sonova,
Presented at the 2022 SOT

Andy Forreryd1, Ulrika T Mattson1, David Waeckerlin2, Karla Lienau2, Robin Gradin1, Rose-Marie Jenvert1
1SenzaGen, Lund, Sweden, 2Sonova AG, Staefa, Switzerland

Download a copy



The GARD®skin Dose-Response assay can be used as a tool for:

  • quantitative potency information of chemicals that might leach out of materials or medical devices.
  • internal decision-making during development of new materials for use in medical devices.


New innovative materials for use in medical devices based on acrylates can bring several advantages such as super-absorbency, transparency, flexibility, toughness and hardness.

The manufacturing of acrylates typically involves using a monomer of either acrylate or methacrylate that is polymerized into the final product. The polymerization or hardening of material makes the monomers inert, however several methodologies can be used for polymerization, and they differ in the degree to which they result in a fully polymerized final product. Some products therefore contain more residual monomers than others and human exposure to these well-known skin sensitizers may increase the risk of skin sensitization and allergic contact dermatitis. To assess the risks resulting from exposure to these chemicals, potentially found in medical device material, it is necessary to accurately identify and characterize their skin sensitizing potential.

The GARDskin (OECD TGP 4.106) assay was initially developed for hazard identification of skin sensitizers. To derive potency information, a modification of the standard GARDskin protocol based on dose-response measurements has been proposed. The readout of the assay is a cDV0 value, which corresponds to the lowest concentration required to exceed a binary classification threshold in GARDskin. This concentration correlates significantly with LLNA EC3 and human NOEL values and linear regression models have been established to exploit these relationships for potency predictions. In this study, we explore the potential to use this novel assay for quantitative potency assessment of two acrylate monomers.

The GARDskin Dose-response assay classified both acrylate monomers as skin sensitizers with predicted LLNA EC3 values and human NOEL values of 0.848% and 22.4%, and 230 µg/cm2and 12200 µg/cm2, resulting in final classifications as a strong to moderate skin sensitizer (HP 2) and a moderate to weak sensitizer (HP 5), respectively. The results agreed with information in the ECHA registration dossiers and gathered human data evidence for the respective monomers, illustrating that GARDskin Dose-Response has the potential to replace the in vivo LLNA method for quantitative potency assessment of potential skin sensitizers during development of novel materials for use in medical devices.