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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterJuly 2021

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

By Catherine Sprankle

NICEATM releases ICE 3.4

On June 7, NICEATM released version 3.4 of the Integrated Chemical Environment (ICE). ICE provides data and tools to help develop, assess, and interpret chemical safety tests. This release adds new tools and expanded capabilities to the existing ICE resources.

ICE version 3.4 includes the following new tools and expanded capabilities:

  • Chemical Quest (Beta): uses fingerprints to predict structure similarity.
  • Drawing of 2D structures (part of the Chemical Quest tool): users can draw their own structures and query ICE for all chemicals that are similar to the drawn structure.
  • Query by multiple chemical identifiers: CASRNs, DTXSIDs, SMILES or InChiKeys are now accepted as inputs into all ICE tools.
  • Send assays to other ICE tools: users can switch between ICE tools and keep the same assays selected.

New data and data updates include:

  • Development and reproductive toxicity in vivo assays from NTP and the European Chemicals Agency.
  • Dermal irritation in vivo assays (rat Draize skin irritation/corrosion test).
  • Updates to ICE curated high-throughput screening data and data from the Open Structure-activity/property Relationship App (OPERA).

OECD issues guideline for skin sensitization assessment and other new documents

The Test Guidelines Programme of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has issued the new test guideline Defined Approaches for Skin Sensitisation. This and other recently approved documents are available on the OECD website.

NICEATM sponsored development of the new guideline in collaboration with other U.S. government agencies and scientists from Canada and the European Union. This document represents a new type of product for OECD and will enable a non-animal approach to identifying potential skin sensitizers to be used worldwide. Validation against a curated set of human data indicates that this approach predicts human skin sensitization hazard better than the accepted animal test.

Other documents approved by OECD include:

  • New test guideline describing use of a reconstructed human epidermis model for phototoxicity assessment.
  • Updates of six test guidelines for eye and skin irritation and skin sensitization.
  • Two new test guidelines for aquatic toxicity tests.

Kamel Mansouri receives QSAR 2021 Promising Early Career Award

The organizing committee of the 19th International Workshop on QSAR in Environmental and Health Sciences (QSAR 2021) selected DNTP/NICEATM scientist Kamel Mansouri as the recipient of the QSAR 2021 Promising Early Career Award. The award recognizes an early career scientist that demonstrates significant contributions to the field of non-animal testing methods and shows promise in continuing to have a meaningful role in the field. The award was presented at the awards luncheon on June 9.

Mansouri is a computational chemist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He led an international project to build computational models to predict whether substances might be toxic when ingested. He is also the lead developer of OPERA, a free and open-source/open-data suite of quantitative structure activity relationship models that provides predictions of physicochemical properties, environmental fate parameters, and toxicity endpoints.

Video available from webinar on MPS database

Microphysiological systems 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 24, NICEATM and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animal Research presented a webinar on how the University of Pittsburgh Microphysiological Systems Database can be used to find and share data on COVID-19 projects. This database receives financial support from NICEATM and from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. A video from the webinar is available on the NTP website.

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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