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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterOctober 2017

NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods

By Catherine Sprankle

Activities at ASCCT annual meeting

NICEATM staff highlighted ongoing efforts to reduce and replace the use of animals in toxicology testing at the September 21-22 annual meeting of the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. In a platform presentation, NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., described a stem cell-based approach to assess the potential for chemicals to cause developmental toxicity. Other presentations by Shannon Bell, Ph.D., and Agnes Karmaus, Ph.D., who work for NICEATM contractor ILS, described NICEATM data resources for developing and evaluating new testing approaches and detailed an analysis of in vivo data variability in acute oral toxicity studies.

Activities of members of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), an interagency committee supported by NICEATM, were also highlighted at ASCCT. The focus of the meeting’s first day was “New Horizons in Acute Toxicology.” Under this topic, ICCVAM Co-chair Anna Lowit, Ph.D., of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs gave a keynote presentation on EPA efforts to replace animal use for required testing of pesticides. Later in that day’s program, ICCVAM member Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) described FDA collaborations to use tissue chip platforms for chemical safety testing. The second day of the meeting focused on implementation of the recent Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. ICCVAM member Louis Scarano, Ph.D., of the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics discussed the process for developing a strategic plan to address requirements in the act to reduce, refine, or replace animal use for testing.

A full list of NICEATM and ICCVAM activities at ASCCT is available at

Grants available for alternative methods development

NICEATM staff at NIEHS collaborate with staff in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training to develop research and development topics for small businesses developing new approaches for chemical testing. Current funding opportunities support development of:

  • Novel in vitro organotypic systems developed with cells from experimental animal models typically used for toxicology testing
  • Medium- to high-throughput systems to evaluate the effects of toxicants on cell differentiation in pluripotent cells
  • Support for formal validation of alternative test methods to reduce animal use in toxicology testing
  • Technologies to improve predictivity in toxicology testing to support the goals and initiatives of Tox21

Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D., is the contact for the small business programs at NIEHS. Information about NIEHS small business programs is available at A list of funding opportunities for alternative methods development is available at

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The Update Newsletter is produced by NTP Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review. The text is not copyrighted and can be reprinted without permission. If you use parts of the Update Newsletter in your publication, we ask that you provide us with a copy for our records. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

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