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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterDecember 2015

NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods

By Catherine Sprankle

NICEATM and International Partners Work Toward Reducing Animal Use for Testing

On several occasions this fall, NICEATM scientists met with international colleagues to discuss new chemical safety testing approaches and consider how to promote alternatives to animal use.

On Sept. 24-25, Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., Senior Staff Computational Toxicologist on the ILS NICEATM support contract, attended the AOP-informed Predictive Modelling Approaches for Regulatory Toxicology workshop in Ispra, Italy. An adverse outcome pathway (AOP) is a conceptual framework that links a chemically induced initiating event in a biological process to a series of subsequent events that progress to an adverse health outcome. AOPs are key to developing testing strategies that use non-animal tests and computational approaches to predict toxicity. This workshop, hosted by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, was organized as a roundtable discussion among international experts on AOPs. Attendees considered how AOPs could be made more quantitative, what data are needed to build quantitative AOPs, and how these AOPs might be applied to chemical safety regulation. Plans are underway to publish the workshop’s recommendations in a peer-reviewed journal.

Kleinstreuer also participated in an Oct. 8-9 workshop in Baltimore organized by Johns Hopkins University where attendees discussed read-across, a computational technique to predict chemical toxicity, and how read-across could be used in regulatory applications. In read-across analyses, toxicity data for a known chemical is used to predict toxicity for a target chemical of unknown toxicity, usually on the basis of structural similarity. Workshop attendees from the United States and Europe presented case studies and updates on the use of read-across in research and regulatory applications. Kleinstreuer presented a bioactivity-based read-across approach developed by NICEATM. A report from the workshop will include case studies and recommendations on good read-across practices.

NICEATM Director Warren Casey, Ph.D., attended the Nov. 10-11 meeting of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) in Ispra, Italy. ICATM is a partnership that promotes international cooperation in the replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use for chemical safety testing. At this meeting, representatives from ICATM partner organizations in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Japan, and South Korea were joined by observers from Brazil and China. Discussion topics included how to promote acceptance of alternative testing methods in the countries represented, with a particular focus on methods for identifying skin sensitizers, which are substances that cause allergic contact dermatitis. Given the high degree of interest in harmonizing international acceptance of alternative methods, member country representatives also discussed the need to establish and publicize procedures for joining ICATM. Representatives of ICATM partner organizations plan to attend the September 2016 meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods, and a meeting focused on skin sensitization testing is planned for fall 2016 in Ispra.

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Director of Office of Policy, Review, and Outreach and Editor-in-Chief: Mary Wolfe | Managing Editor: Anna Lee Mosley