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The Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) is a federally chartered advisory group that advises NICEATM, ICCVAM, and the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) about ICCVAM activities. SACATM held public meetings on September 16, 2014, and September 2, 2015, at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
At the 2014 meeting, ICCVAM Co-chair Anna Lowit, Ph.D., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presented an update of new ICCVAM procedures and summarized EPA’s progress toward expanding the use of in vitro methods and reducing animal use in pesticide testing. Joanna Matheson, Ph.D., Consumer Product Safety Commission, discussed the ICCVAM Skin Sensitization Working Group’s review of in vitro skin sensitization test methods evaluated by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) and the working group’s progress in developing an integrated testing strategy for skin sensitization. NICEATM Director Warren Casey, Ph.D., provided an update on NICEATM activities and also described ICCVAM activities to improve stakeholder communication. He and Lowit gave a presentation summarizing international interactions and clarifying differences in structure, activities, and mission among the member organizations of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods. ICCVAM Co-chair Abby Jacobs, Ph.D., Food and Drug Administration (FDA), briefed SACATM on ICCVAM’s goals for 2015 and identified acute systemic toxicity, skin sensitization, adverse outcome pathways (AOPs), international coordination, and new paradigms for validation as priority areas. Jacobs also updated SACATM on FDA activities contributing to reductions in animal use in drug and biologics testing. NICEATM and ICCVAM members provided summaries of workshops on aquatic models, AOPs, and replacement of the murine histamine sensitization test for pertussis vaccine testing. Updates on 3Rs activities were provided by David Dix, Ph.D. (EPA); Nigel Walker, Ph.D. (NIEHS); Barnett Rattner, Ph.D. (Department of the Interior), and Carol Clarke, D.V.M. (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA]).
The 2015 SACATM meeting was structured to put more emphasis on substantive discussion of challenging topics relevant to the 3Rs. To that end, SACATM was given an opportunity to discuss three broad questions relevant to the advancement of animal alternatives: international harmonization of animal testing requirements, measurement of success in the 3Rs, and creation of a U.S. roadmap for alternative methods development. Brief updates on ongoing 3Rs activities were provided by Dix (EPA), Clarke (USDA), and Richard McFarland, Ph.D. (FDA). Casey and Lowit also presented brief updates on NICEATM and ICCVAM activities. An NIEHS presentation described funding opportunities available for small businesses developing alternative methods.