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ICCVAM coordinated the development of a strategic roadmap for incorporating new approaches into safety testing of chemicals and medical products in the United States. ICCVAM agencies also took steps to reduce the number of animals required for toxicity testing.
Acute systemic toxicity tests identify toxic effects that appear soon after a substance is swallowed, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. ICCVAM member agencies are evaluating methods that can reduce the number of animals required for acute toxicity testing or replace animal tests with non-animal alternatives.
Biologics are products derived from biological sources and used as medicines in humans or animals. ICCVAM agencies are working to identify methods that will refine existing testing procedures or reduce or eliminate the need for animal testing for biologics.
Computational toxicology uses mathematics, informatics, and computer models to better understand toxicity mechanisms and predict toxic effects. ICCVAM agencies are exploring how these approaches could reduce and replace animal use for chemical safety testing.
Developmental toxicity testing evaluates the extent to which a substance may harm a developing embryo or fetus, while reproductive toxicity tests assess tendency to cause reproductive system effects. ICCVAM agencies are exploring approaches that use fewer animals to assess developmental and reproductive safety.
Ecotoxicity testing refers both to the assessment of chemical effects on wildlife species and the testing of soil, sediment, or effluents for toxic compounds. ICCVAM member agencies are exploring ways to reduce or replace animal use for ecotoxicity studies.
Endocrine disruptors can interfere with normal hormone function by mimicking or blocking hormone action, which may cause adverse health effects. ICCVAM agencies are exploring how high-throughput screening approaches can be used to identify potential endocrine disruptors without using animals.
Chemicals and products such as personal care products, cleaning supplies, and pesticides are tested to determine if they present eye and skin injury hazards and to classify them for appropriate labeling and packaging. Evaluation of alternatives to animal testing for this purpose is a high priority for NICEATM and ICCVAM.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that may develop in people exposed to skin-sensitizing chemicals. Traditional test methods for identifying these chemicals use animals, but ICCVAM is developing approaches to identify potential skin sensitizers that use only in vitro, in silico, and in chemico test data and physicochemical properties.
Many ICCVAM member agencies engage in research activities that focus both on developing new test methods and exploring new technologies that may support future test method development. Effective translation of technological advances into new test methods should allow better protection of public health while addressing animal use and welfare concerns.
In addition to research and validation, ICCVAM agencies are engaged in activities to inform stakeholders about and promote the use of alternative methods.