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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 NIEHS about ICCVAM activities. SACATM held public meetings on Sept. 5-6, 2018, at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Sept. 19-20, 2019, at the Crowne Plaza Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.
The focus of SACATM’s September 2018 meeting was actions needed to advance goals outlined in the Strategic Roadmap. Industry representatives stated a desire for clear direction from regulators about their information needs and for communication by regulators of their willingness to accept data from new approach methodologies to fulfill those needs. Participants discussed the need for high-quality reference data from past animal tests to evaluate the performance of new methods and also considered issues involved in sharing and using those data.
Presentations at the September 2019 meeting focused on new approaches to validation, computational tools, and applications of MPS. SACATM members expressed support for the current activities and direction of ICCVAM and noted the progress that had been made in advancing alternatives to animal testing. Discussions on the use of computational methods focused on the limitations and applications of machine learning models in predicting toxicity. Considering the potential uses of MPS in predicting human toxicity, committee members suggested these systems might be most useful for screening early-stage toxicity, evaluating effects on diverse populations, and providing models for applications lacking established animal models. They cautioned, however, that the context of use for these platforms would need to be clearly defined.