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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterSeptember 2021

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

By Catherine Sprankle

Agenda and other materials available for September 28-29 SACATM meeting

An agenda, abstracts, and background materials are now available for the virtual meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) on September 28-29. Registration to view the SACATM meeting will be available through the end of the meeting on September 29. Interested persons may also register to submit comments for consideration at the meeting. The deadline to register to submit comments is Friday, September 17.

SACATM is a federally chartered external advisory group of scientists from the public and private sectors that advises the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), NICEATM, and the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and NTP regarding statutorily mandated duties of ICCVAM and activities of NICEATM. Agenda items for the upcoming meeting include: (1) major ICCVAM accomplishments in 2021, (2) regulatory needs and research applications for ecotoxicity testing, (3) evolving approaches to validation, and (4) update on NICEATM computational resources.

NICEATM presents webinar series on skin sensitization

NICEATM is partnering with the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs to present a webinar series on “Current Concepts in Quantitative Risk Assessment for Skin Sensitization.” The first webinar, which provides an introduction to skin sensitization and contact dermatitis, will be Tuesday, September 21, at 9:00 a.m. EDT. The webinar is free and open to the public. 

Despite progress in the adoption of new approach methods as alternatives to traditional animal tests, quantitative risk assessment of skin sensitizing chemicals remains a challenging process. This webinar series will provide an overview of the current state of the science in this rapidly developing field. While the main focus of the webinars will be on testing of pesticides, the webinars may be of interest to the broader scientific community as they rely on the development of concepts and methods in other areas, e.g. cosmetics, fragrances, and consumer products.

The September 21 webinar will feature David Basketter, DABMEB Consultancy Ltd., speaking on the history and current status of skin sensitization testing, and Wolfgang Uter, University of Erlangen-Nurnberg, discussing the epidemiology of contact dermatitis with a focus on occupational exposure and monitoring.

Kleinstreuer to serve on National Academies panel examining mammalian toxicity tests

Acting NICEATM Director Nicole Kleinstreuer has been named a provisional member of the committee being convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the consensus study, “Variability and Relevance of Current Laboratory Mammalian Toxicity Tests and Expectations for New Approach Methods (NAMs) for use in Human Health Risk Assessment.” This study will review the variability and relevance of existing mammalian toxicity tests, specifically in the context of human health risk assessment. It will set data-driven and science-based expectations for NAMs based on the variability and relevance of the traditional toxicity testing models. To review the proposed charge questions for the committee and learn more about the study, visit the National Academies’ website.

NICEATM scientists supporting training on alternatives to animal ase for acute toxicity tests

Kleinstreuer and NICEATM scientist Kamel Mansouri are presenters in an upcoming series of training webinars presented by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. These five virtual training and discussion sessions will focus on available methods and strategies for avoiding or reducing animal tests when assessing chemicals and pesticides for six acute endpoints commonly referred to as the “6-pack.” Methods and strategies presented will be applicable to pesticides, antimicrobials, and other products. The series will be held on consecutive Thursdays starting on September 9.

Each session in the “Nix the Six” virtual training series will feature three to four short lectures and a roundtable discussion in a Zoom webinar format. Attendees will be able to ask questions and provide comments; other approaches may be used to enable additional interaction between attendees and panelists. Registrants may attend any or all of the sessions, which are free and open to the public. Mansouri will present in Session 1, “Oral and Dermal Toxicity”, and  Kleinstreuer will speak in the final session, “Opportunities and Outlook.”

Article reviews activities of MPS working group

A feature article published online July 28 in Drug Discovery Today reviews progress in the effort to apply microphysiological systems (MPS, also known as “tissue chips”) to the development of therapies for COVID-19. Coauthors Nicole Kleinstreuer and Anthony Holmes, National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (United Kingdom), describe the establishment of a global working group to coordinate activities around MPSs and COVID-19 and maximize their scientific, human health, and animal welfare impacts.

Kleinstreuer, N. and Holmes, A. 2021. Harnessing the power of microphysiological systems for COVID-19 research. Drug Discovery Today. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2021.06.020

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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