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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterAugust 2016

NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM)

By Catherine Sprankle

NICEATM activities highlighted at Teratology Society workshop 

NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., chaired a workshop session on identifying reference chemicals for developmental and reproductive toxicity at the June 26-29 meeting of the Teratology Society in San Antonio, Texas. The workshop session, titled “Every Assay Needs an Anchor: The Search for Reference Developmental Toxicants,” focused on identifying appropriate sets of chemicals that induce specific developmental and reproductive toxicity endpoints and corresponding negative controls. Assembly of reference chemical sets is key to development of novel tests to identify reproductive and developmental toxicants more rapidly, with greater accuracy, and without using animals. Kleinstreuer and NICEATM Toxicologist Elizabeth Maull, Ph.D., joined scientists from industry, academia, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss a variety of approaches to identify and evaluate reference chemical sets.  

NICEATM reaches new audience at SIAM

NICEATM reached a new audience with a presentation at the July 11-15 annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Shannon Bell, Ph.D., staff toxicologist for NICEATM support contractor ILS, gave a platform presentation on the use of computationally predicted adverse outcome pathways for optimizing alternatives to animal testing. An adverse outcome pathway is a conceptual framework that organizes knowledge about biological interactions and toxicity mechanisms into a model that describes how a chemical exposure might cause a toxic effect or disease. Manually constructing adverse outcome pathways is labor-intensive, but Bell described how computational methods and data mining can accelerate this process. This presentation at a major mathematics meeting supports NICEATM efforts to bring a broader range of expertise into development of alternative test methods. 

NICEATM requests information on test methods for developmental toxicity and acute systemic toxicity 

In a June 30 Federal Register notice, NICEATM requested available data and information on approaches and/or technologies currently used for identifying potential developmental toxicants. Respondents are asked to provide information on any activities relevant to the development or validation of alternatives to in vivo developmental toxicity test methods that are currently required by regulatory agencies. This includes data from non-animal chemical tests for developmental hazard potential. NICEATM also requested any available data resulting from in vivo developmental studies, ethical human or animal studies, or accidental human exposures, using the same chemicals. Responses to this request should be submitted by August 15; please visit for more information. In a second Federal Register notice (July 18), NICEATM requested data and information on approaches and technologies currently used to identify substances with the potential to cause acute systemic toxicity when swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Respondents are asked to provide information on any activities relevant to the development or validation of alternatives to in vivo tests that are currently required by regulatory agencies to assess acute oral, dermal, or inhalation toxicity. Of specific interest are chemical-specific data from non-animal tests for acute systemic toxicity hazard, as well as available data on the same chemicals from in vivo acute systemic toxicity tests. Responses to this requests should be submitted by September 1; please visit for more information.

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