NTP Partners with EPA to Develop Testing Plan to Replace Animal Use
Scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) developed and validated a new approach to replace tests currently used in the EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. In this program, EPA tests substances to identify chemicals in the environment that may interfere with the normal function of hormones and potentially cause health problems in humans and animals. Chemicals go through a screening phase, known as Tier 1, to assess the potential for them to interfere with normal hormone function resulting in their selection for the next testing phase. Using current assays, Tier 1 screening can take more than five years for a set of chemicals.
The approach developed by EPA and NICEATM will replace three of the five assays currently used in Tier 1. Two of the assays being replaced required the use of animals. This new approach, which utilizes high throughput assays and computational methods, will accelerate the pace of screening chemicals, decrease costs, and reduce animal use. The approach is described in detail in a manuscript published in Environmental Science and Technology in FY 2015.
Dr. Casey, Director of NICEATM, was a co-author on the approach to replace animal use. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)