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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterAugust 2020

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

By Catherine Sprankle

ICCVAM 2018-2019 Biennial Report now available

The ICCVAM Biennial Progress Report 2018-2019 is now available. The ICCVAM Authorization Act of 2000 directed the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) to prepare a progress report on its first anniversary and every other year thereafter. ICCVAM is an interagency committee of the federal government supported by NICEATM.

The latest ICCVAM Biennial Progress Report describes ICCVAM and ICCVAM agency activities from January 2018 through December 2019. The report highlights ICCVAM member agency activities supporting toxicology innovation, as well as regulatory agency initiatives to replace, reduce, or refine animal use for toxicity testing and to provide information about the use of new approach methodologies. Key ICCVAM, ICCVAM agency, and NICEATM accomplishments summarized in the report include:

This edition of the Biennial Report has been reorganized to make it easier for users to find content of interest. Menu items allow users to view articles by agency or find articles relevant to topics such as in vitro to in vivo extrapolation, cardiotoxicity, or mixtures toxicity. Reference pages list publications of interest as well as providing glossary terms and acronyms relevant to ICCVAM agencies and activities.

ICE Version 3.1 now available

On July 24, NICEATM released an update of the Integrated Chemical Environment (ICE). ICE provides data and tools to help develop, assess, and interpret chemical safety tests. This update adds the following features to these ICE tools:

  • Search: query results can now be sent directly to the EPA CompTox Chemicals Dashboard.
  • In Vitro to In Vivo Extrapolation (IVIVE): assays can be selected based on mode of action; results can be filtered by mode of action or toxicity endpoint annotation.
  • Chemical Characterization: principal component analysis plots provide an additional option for visualization of chemical properties.

Other new resources in ICE 3.1 include:

  • New Chemical Quick Lists: EPA List of Active Ingredients and EPA List of Inert Ingredients Food and Nonfood Use.
  • Additional metadata provided in results downloads.
  • New tooltips and information buttons to help users set up queries.

NICEATM and partners present webinar series on animal-free antibodies

NICEATM, the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. (PETA-ISC), and the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) are co‑organizers of a series of free webinars in which experts will address the application and benefits of recombinant antibodies. The series of six webinars began in July and will continue into 2021.

The second webinar of the series will be on Wednesday, September 16 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. EDT. João Borroso of EURL ECVAM will share a summary of the findings from a 2018 EURL ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee meeting that reviewed the validity and benefits of using animal-free technology to produce affinity reagents and the subsequent EURL ECVAM recommendation.

The first webinar, presented July 23, discussed how animal-free recombinant antibodies are being used to fight diseases such as COVID-19. Stefan Dübel, Technische Universität Braunschweig, described his work developing fully human antibodies against infections such as COVID-19 and diphtheria. Sachdev Sidhu described his successes at the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre in developing non-animal antibodies against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Slides and a recording of the webinar are available on the PETA-ISC website.

Report recommends alternatives to laboratory dog use by VA

A new report presents the findings of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study to evaluate the use of dogs in biomedical research. Conducted at the request of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the study assessed whether laboratory dogs are or will continue to be necessary for biomedical research related to the VA’s mission. Former NICEATM Director Warren Casey is a coauthor of the report.

The report concludes that using laboratory dogs in research at the VA is scientifically necessary for only a few areas of current biomedical research. The report recommends that the VA adopt an expanded set of criteria for determining when it is scientifically necessary to use laboratory dogs in VA biomedical research and promote the development and use of alternatives to laboratory dogs. It also highlights opportunities for the VA to enhance the welfare of laboratory dogs that are being used in necessary biomedical research areas.

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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