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Announcements Sent to the NICEATM News List in 2014

These announcements were originally distributed via the NICEATM News email list. Subscribing to the NICEATM News email list will notify you directly of publication of NICEATM Federal Register notices, availability of ICCVAM reports, notices of upcoming meetings, requests for public comments or data, and other events of interest to our stakeholders.


Dec. 16: Workshop to Evaluate Alternative Tests for Pertussis Vaccines

The NC3Rs is hosting a workshop to bring together scientists from government, industry, academia, and research institutions to discuss and evaluate alternative methods to the murine histamine sensitization test (HIST) for monitoring of residual pertussis toxin activity in acellular pertussis vaccines. NICEATM is providing administrative support for the workshop.

The workshop, titled “In Search of Acceptable Alternatives to the Murine Histamine Sensitization Test: What Is Possible and Practical?” will be held in London, England, on March 4-5, 2015. Workshop participants will review and discuss data from an ongoing study of a cell-based assay proposed as a replacement for HIST, issues associated with alternatives validation, and recent relevant scientific advances.

Registration is free but advance registration by February 6, 2015, is required.

Dec. 16: Video of Effectopedia Webinar Available on YouTube

A recording of the December 3 webinar demonstrating use of Effectopedia is available on YouTube. Effectopedia is an open-source knowledge aggregation and collaboration tool to support the development of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs).

The webinar, which runs approximately 1-1/2 hours, demonstrates searching, viewing, and creating the graphic structure of an AOP; show examples of existing AOPs; and discuss integration of Effectopedia with the AOP Knowledge Base and information exchange with the AOP Wiki. 


Nov. 26: EPA FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel to Discuss Prioritization of EDSP Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel will meet on December 2–5 at the EPA Conference Center in Arlington, Virginia. The panel will consider and review scientific issues related to endocrine activity and exposure-based prioritization and screening. NICEATM scientists will present their work on assessing bioactivity of chemicals tested in the ToxCast high-throughput screening assays. Read summary of the meeting and the NICEATM presentations in the January Environmental Factor newsletter. 

Nov. 26: Frank Gerberick Wins Cave Award

At the recent annual meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, Dr. Frank Gerberick of The Proctor & Gamble Company was presented with the William and Eleanor Cave Award in recognition of his contributions to alternative test method development, which include the development of the direct peptide reactivity assay (DPRA). The Cave Award is awarded by the Alternatives Research and Development Foundation to recognize achievements in reducing, refining, and replacing animals in testing.

Nov. 18: NIH Seeks Information on Making Data Usable

onal Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other NIH institutes have issued a Request for Information (RFI): Making Data Usable—A Framework for Community-Based Data and Metadata Standards Efforts for NIH-relevant Research. The mission of the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative is to enable biomedical scientists to capitalize more fully on the Big Data being generated by those research communities. BD2K aims to develop new approaches, standards, methods, tools, software, and competencies that will enhance the use of biomedical Big Data by supporting research, implementation, and training in data science and other relevant fields. An important aspect of this process is to make biomedical research data and resources maximally shareable and reusable. For this reason, BD2K is formulating approaches to encourage development and facilitate the use of data-related (including metadata) standards more broadly across the biomedical research community and is, therefore, interested in the issues involved in developing community-based standards. This RFI solicits comments and ideas related to how community standards activities are initiated, developed, disseminated, and sustained, as well as any role that NIH might play in helping to catalyze such efforts. Deadline for responses is December 5; .view additional information and instructions for submitting comments

Nov. 18: NEAVS Offering Fellowship Grant

The New England Anti-Vivsection Society (NEAVS) is accepting applications for its annual $40,000 postdoctoral fellowship grant. The fellowship will be awarded to a woman interested in and committed to developing, validating, or using non-animal alternatives in the investigation of women’s health or sex differences. Citizens or residents of any country may apply. Key criteria for the award will be the potential for the greatest future impact of the funded research as well as the candidate’s experience and commitment to alternatives to animal research. Applications are due by December 15.

Nov. 18: Training Video on BCOP Eye Irritation Method

The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) has posted a training video on the bovine corneal opacity and permeability (BCOP) test method on YouTube. The BCOP is an in vitro method for identification of eye irritants. The video was produced by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences.

Nov. 6: OECD to Present Webinar on Status and Use of Effectopedia

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will present a webinar on Effectopedia, an open-source knowledge aggregation and collaboration tool to support the development of adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). The webinar will demonstrate searching, viewing, and creating the graphic structure of an AOP; show examples of existing AOPs; and discuss integration of Effectopedia with the AOP Knowledge Base and information exchange with the AOP Wiki.
The webinar will be presented twice: Monday, Dec. 1, 9:30–11:00 a.m. Central European Time, and Wednesday, Dec. 3, 5:00–6:30 p.m. Central European Time. To participate, please email Hristo Aladjov.

Nov. 6: OpenTox USA Meeting to Include Session on AOPs

The 2015 OpenTox USA meeting with the theme of “Driving the Big Science Challenge in Safety Forward” will take place in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 10–12, 2015. Session topics will include (1) data science, (2) adverse outcome pathways, (3) exposure modeling, (4) integrating evidence and analysis, and (5) risk assessment. Registration for the OpenTox USA is open and abstracts for poster presentations are being accepted.

Nov. 3: NC3Rs CRACK IT Challenge: QSARs Mix

The UK National Centre for the Replacement Reduction & Refinement of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is offering a grant opportunity through its "CRACK IT" Challenge program. The aim of this Challenge is for the development of a model or expert system that enables reliable prediction of skin and eye irritation based on structural information or ‘structural alerts’. This tool should specifically be able to predict the toxicity associated with a mixture of substances assuming a proper compositional analysis of the test mixture and applying a weighted average score approach.
Up to £100,000 over one year will be awarded under this challenge, which is sponsored by Shell. NC3Rs challenges may be met by applications from single organisations/investigators or from consortia. The lead applicant must be from the European Union. The deadline to submit applications is 12 noon, 19 November 2014. View more information on the CRACK IT website.


Oct. 23: OECD Scoping Document on Thyroid Assays Available

A document issued recently by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides recommendations for development and use of existing in vitro and ex vivo thyroid assays and identifies data gaps that require development of additional tests. NICEATM scientists contributed to the development of the “New Scoping Document on In Vitro and Ex Vivo Assays for the Identification of Modulators of Thyroid Hormone Signalling.” The document was developed under the leadership of experts from the OECD Validation Management Group on Non-Animal Testing and the OECD Expert Group on Amphibian Testing. It is available, along with other OECD documents on endocrine disruptor testing, on the OECD website.

Oct. 23: Survey on Alternative Approaches for Toxicity Testing

The UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program is conducting a survey to examine the use of alternative approaches for toxicity testing in various settings. In particular, the survey is collecting information on participants’ views on alternative approaches and the factors that drive or prevent their adoption.

Oct. 8: New OECD Test Guidelines Available

In late September, the OECD Council adopted three new chemical test guidelines and updates and corrections to six existing test guidelines. The new test guidelines are Test Guideline 238, “Sediment-free Myriophyllum spicatum Toxicity Test,” Test Guideline 239, “Water-sediment Myriophyllum spicatum Toxicity Test,” and Test Guideline 489, “In vivo Mammalian Alkaline Comet Assay.” A correction was issued to Test Guideline 310, “Ready Biodegradation – CO2 in Sealed Vessels (Headspace Test),” and updates were issued for test guidelines for in vitro skin corrosion methods and four genotoxicity tests. The new and updated test guidelines are available on the OECD website.

Oct. 8: DB-ALM Update Launched

The European Union Joint Research Centre (JRC) administers DB-ALM, a database of alternative methods for research and regulatory use. The JRC recently announced an update to DB-ALM offering a redesigned data retrieval approach with improved flexibility and support. New methods for identification of potential carcinogens, eye irritants, and skin sensitizers have also been added to the database.

Oct. 8: PETA and Chemical Watch Present REACH Webinars

The PETA International Science Consortium, Ltd., and Chemical Watch are presenting a webinar series focused on alternative methods and testing strategies that can be used to meet REACH requirements. Topics for the webinars will include in silico tools, skin and eye irritation and corrosion, skin sensitization, and acute toxicity. Information about the webinar series is available on the PETA International Science Consortium website. The first webinar on October 22 will discuss the OECD QSAR toolbox and read-across, and will be presented by Drs. Grace Patlewicz (DuPont) and Mark Cronin (Liverpool John Moores University). The second webinar on skin irritation and corrosion will take place on November 11 and will be presented by Drs. Gertrude-Emilia Costin (Institute for In Vitro Sciences) and Costanza Rovida (REACH Mastery).


Sept. 25: OECD Announces AOP Wiki

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched the AOP Wiki, a resource for developing and sharing adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). The AOP Wiki is the first module of the OECD Adverse Outcome Pathways Knowledge Base, which will provide a focal point for AOP development and dissemination. An overview of the AOP Wiki was presented at a workshop on “Adverse Outcome Pathways: From Research to Regulation” on September 3-5, which was organized by NICEATM and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Workshop materials and an email list managed by NICEATM to provide information about events and activities of interest to AOP developers and users, are available on the NTP website. 

Sept. 25: European Center Releases Review of Alternative Methods

In support of European Union legislation on safety of chemicals, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a state-of-the art review of test methods and computational approaches that help promote the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal experiments in the safety assessment of chemicals. The report "Alternative Methods for Regulatory Toxicology – A State-of-the-Art Review" focuses on "non-standard" methods, i.e. those that are not included in current regulatory guidelines. The review was prepared by JRC’s European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing, a partner with NICEATM and ICCVAM in the International Cooperation for Alternative Test Methods.

Sept. 25: Summary Available of Workshop on Pertussis Vaccine Testing

A summary of a recent workshop on progress towards replacing the murine histamine sensitization test for safety evaluation of pertussis vaccines is available on the NC3Rs website. The workshop, a satellite meeting of the Ninth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, was organized by NICEATM and international collaborators.

Sept. 25: Data Viewer Available

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the first beta version of the Interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability (iCSS) Dashboard. The iCSS Dashboard provides an interactive tool to explore in vitro high-throughput data generated by the ToxCast and Tox21 projects. The iCSS Dashboard is best used with the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers. This resource is still under development and EPA welcomes your feedback.

Sept. 11: New Resources for Adverse Outcome Pathways Development

On September 25, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will launch the AOP Wiki, a resource for developing and sharing adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). The AOP Wiki is the first module of the OECD Adverse Outcome Pathways Knowledge Base, which will provide a focal point for AOP development and dissemination.

NICEATM and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine held a workshop on “Adverse Outcome Pathways: From Research to Regulation” on September 3-5. Materials from the workshop, including links to the plenary session videocasts and summaries of the breakout group discussions, are available on the NTP website. Also on this page is a link to the Adverse Outcome Pathways Community listserv, an email list managed by NICEATM to provide information about events and activities of interest to AOP developers and users. You may subscribe to the list on the NIH website.


Aug. 4: National Library of Medicine Updates Hazardous Substances Data Bank

The Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), a part of NLM's Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®), has undergone numerous recent enhancements to its records for chemicals and substances. Examples include the creation of new subheadings in the human and non-human toxicity excerpts to allow users to more efficiently locate data from in vitro and other alternative methods. Coverage includes results from methods validated by ICCVAM and the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing.


July 23: USDA Offers Training on Searching for Alternatives

USDA’s Animal Welfare Information Center (AWIC) holds free workshops at the National Agricultural Library to help researchers explore alternatives to procedures that may cause pain or distress to their animals. Training is targeted to principal investigators, IACUC members, administrators of animal use programs, veterinarians, librarians, and other information specialists. The workshops provide an overview of relevant topics and resources, instruction on the use of existing databases and websites, and hands-on practice conducting online database searches.

July 8: EPA to Hold ToxCast Data Summit in September

EPA’s Second ToxCast Data Summit is scheduled for September 29-30, 2014 in Research Triangle Park, NC. The goal of the Data Summit is to encourage the user community (industry, non-governmental organizations, academia, governmental agencies and more) to present their thoughts on how to use the ToxCast data and to discuss how to implement these ideas to inform chemical policy and regulatory decisions. Individuals interested in presenting ideas about the use or analysis of new ToxCast high-throughput screening data should indicate their intention to submit an abstract on the Data Summit registration form so they can be contacted by a program committee member. Deadline for submission of abstracts is August 1.


May 16: European Union Alternatives Center Releases CheLIST Database

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) has just released the "Chemical Lists Information System" (CheLIST) tool. CheLIST was developed to assist test method developers in choosing appropriate reference chemicals for development of in vitro methods or computational biology models for predictive toxicology or pharmacology. It provides a means to determine whether a chemical or group of chemicals has been tested in a major European Union or international research study, and may also assist in determining whether the chemical appears on a specific regulatory inventory. More information about CheLIST on the EURL ECVAM website


April 11: EURL ECVAM Survey on In Vitro Methods for Estimating Human Hepatic Metabolism

Hepatic metabolic clearance plays a key role in the transformation and the elimination of chemicals from the human body, and in vitro methods for human hepatic metabolic clearance/stability are being developed. The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) in conducting a survey to identify in vitro human hepatic metabolic clearance/stability methods that can contribute to the development of harmonized standards and associated international test guidelines. Survey is available through June 30 on the EURL ECVAM website


March 13: EPA Updates EDSP Comprehensive Management Plan

The EPA has updated its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) Comprehensive Management Plan to emphasize the utilization of advanced informational technology and computational methods. The mission of the EDSP is to protect people, wildlife and our environment from chemicals that adversely affect endocrine systems by screening pesticides, chemicals and environmental contaminants for their potential effects on estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormone systems. The updated 2014 EDSP Comprehensive Management Plan provides strategic guidance for agency personnel and outlines the critical EDSP activities that are planned for this program over the next five years. Among the many critical activities is a core focus on using informational technology to enhance data interpretation and applying computational methods to more efficiently prioritize and screen the universe of EDSP chemicals for potential effects on the endocrine system. This document is made available to the public a s a source of information and to ensure open transparency. View detailed information on the EPA website


February 19: United Kingdom Releases Animal Use Report

A policy document titled “Working to Reduce the Use of Animals in Research” was published February 7 by the United Kingdom Home Office and Department of Health. The document details how the UK government will use technological advancements and 3Rs approaches to meet its commitment to reduce the use of animals in research. View document on UK government website

February 19: European Alternatives Group Issues Recommendations on KeratinoSens

EURL ECVAM (European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing) has issued final recommendations on the use of the KeratinoSens (TM) assay for skin sensitization testing. EURL ECVAM recommended that KeratinoSens was useful in distinguishing sensitizers from nonsensitizers and could be used in an integrated approach with complementary information from other assays to determine skin sensitization potential. However, KeratinoSens should not be considered a stand-alone full replacement method. EURL ECVAM found the KeratinoSens assay to be transferable to laboratories experienced in cell culture and reproducible within and between laboratories.

View information about the EURL ECVAM evaluation of KeratinoSens on their website

February 4: ICCVAM Elects Co-Chairs

At ICCVAM's January meeting, the principal representatives from the 15 ICCVAM agencies elected Dr. Abby Jacobs, FDA, and Dr. Anna Lowit, EPA, to serve as co-chairs of ICCVAM for the coming year. Drs. Jacobs and Lowit served as acting co-chairs of ICCVAM during 2013 and will continue to lead ICCVAM as it defines new procedures and sets goals and priorities for the near future. We encourage all ICCVAM stakeholders to join NICEATM and ICCVAM in thanking Drs. Jacobs and Lowit for taking on this responsibility and supporting them as they lead ICCVAM in its future activities.


January 7: Appointment of Dr. Warren Casey as Director of NICEATM

During 2013 Dr. Warren Casey served as Acting Director of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) within the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. John Bucher, Director of the DNTP, announced January 7 that Dr. Casey has agreed to serve as the next permanent Director of NICEATM. In making this announcement, Dr. Bucher congratulated Dr. Casey on an outstanding first year and said he looks forward to many more successful years of service to NICEATM, ICCVAM and ICATM.