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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterJune 2021

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

By Catherine Sprankle

ICCVAM Public Forum held May 27; Save the date for SACATM in September

The Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) held its annual public forum on May 27. Nearly 200 viewers participated in the online event, which was hosted by NICEATM.

ICCVAM holds annual public forums to enable member agencies to share information on activities and facilitate direct communication of ideas and suggestions from stakeholders. This year’s public forum featured 13 presentations from nine ICCVAM member agencies describing activities supporting replacement, reduction, or refinement of animal use for chemical safety testing. Representatives of nine ICCVAM stakeholder organizations presented statements during the meeting, more than at any previous public forum. Topics addressed by the commenters included validation of new methods and incorporation of human-relevant data; communicating effectively with the public about the validity of non-animal methods; and the need for international agreement on testing requirements.

Registration will open soon for the September 28-29 meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM). In addition to updates of recent NICEATM and ICCVAM activities, this meeting will feature substantive discussions on the topics of ecotoxicity testing and new approaches to validation.

NICEATM to collaborate with Unilever on development of predictive model for skin sensitization

NICEATM has entered into an agreement with consumer products company Unilever to collaboratively test and further develop their Skin Allergy Risk Assessment (SARA) predictive model. SARA is a computational model that uses a variety of input data to estimate a probability that a chemical will cause an allergic skin reaction in humans. NICEATM will test the SARA model using a variety of chemical data sets, including chemicals of interest to U.S. and international regulatory agencies. NICEATM and Unilever will also work together to expand the SARA model to include data generated by NICEATM. The intent is to make the SARA model openly available for public use along with other NICEATM predictive models. Availability of the SARA model will help further reduce animal use for the endpoint of skin sensitization, and will improve upon existing efforts by providing points of departure for quantitative human risk assessment.

Information about other NICEATM projects to evaluate alternatives to animal use for skin sensitization is available on the NTP website.

Reference: Reynolds et al. Probabilistic prediction of human skin sensitizer potency for use in next generation risk assessment. Comput Toxiol 9:36-49.

Paper describes global collaboration to develop predictive models for acute oral toxicity

A paper published April 30 in Environmental Health Perspectives describes a NICEATM-led international project to build computational models to predict whether substances might be toxic when ingested. The project produced the Collaborative Acute Toxicity Modeling Suite (CATMoS), which was developed specifically to help reduce or replace animal use for regulatory testing. An article about the paper is featured in the May issue of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Environmental Factor newsletter.

Mansouri et al. 2021. CATMoS: Collaborative Acute Toxicity Modeling Suite. Environ Health Perspect 129(4):47013.

Video, slides available from spring workshop on use of MPS for COVID research

Microphysiological systems (MPS) provide human cell-based platforms that enable the study both of normal organ function and effects on organ function by toxicants or pathogens. On April 1, NICEATM and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animal Research co-hosted a Spring Workshop for the Microphysiological Systems for COVID Research working group.

Meeting attendees were individuals and organizations that represent MPS stakeholders as well as COVID researchers. The agenda featured talks from two sessions, “MPS Models for Testing Therapeutics” and “MPS Models for Understanding Disease Mechanisms. A recording of the presentations and other materials from the meeting are available on the NTP website.

Abstract submission open for ASCCT annual meeting, deadline July 15

The American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology (ASCCT) is hosting their annual meeting virtually from October 12-14, 2021. The overarching theme for this year’s meeting is “Practical Applications of New Tools in Toxicology”. The agenda will include five sessions of oral presentations, posters, and other engagement opportunities. Abstracts for oral and poster presentations are due by July 15, 2021. Abstracts should be related to in vitro and in silico toxicology, broadly defined and including science, policy, and regulatory topics.

NICEATM activities at upcoming meetings

  • NICEATM will be presenting four posters at the June 7-10 International Workshop on (Quantitative) Structure–Activity Relationships on Environmental and Health Sciences. Acting NICEATM Director Nicole Kleinstreuer, NICEATM computational chemist Kamel Mansouri, and senior toxicologist Agnes Karmaus (ILS, contractor supporting NICEATM) are serving on the workshop organizing committee.

  • Kleinstreuer is senior author on an abstract accepted for an oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, to be held June 24-July 1. Senior computational toxicologist Xiaoqing Chang (ILS, contractor supporting NICEATM) is first author on the abstract and will be giving the presentation.

  • NICEATM has had 12 abstracts accepted to the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, to be held August 23-September 1. Acting NICEATM director Nicole Kleinstreuer is also participating in six sessions as a speaker, co-chair, or roundtable discussant. Registration for World Congress is open, with discounted rates available through June 15.


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The Update Newsletter is produced by NTP Office of Policy, Review, and Outreach. 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 Policy, Review, and Outreach and Editor-in-Chief: Mary Wolfe | Managing Editor: Anna Lee Mosley