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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterJanuary 2022

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

By Catherine Sprankle

NICEATM requests data from ectoparasiticide efficacy tests

In a December 21 Federal Register notice, NICEATM requested available data and information on approaches and/or technologies currently used for efficacy testing of ectoparasiticide products, such as those used for flea and tick control for dogs and cats. Submitted information will be used to assess the state of the science and determine technical needs for nonanimal test methods used to evaluate the efficacy of ectoparasiticides. The eventual goal is to facilitate the  incorporation of nonanimal test methods into a testing strategy for regulatory purposes. Submit data to NICEATM by January 28.

NICEATM-organized workgroup supporting research efforts for COVID Omicron variant

A workgroup co-organized by NICEATM and the UK National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) is coordinating activities among investigators to apply microphysiological systems (MPS) to investigations of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Workgroup members met with representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 3 to discuss research needs relevant to the biology and treatment of Omicron and the potential for MPS to provide human-relevant platforms for rapidly addressing those needs. A spreadsheet detailing relevant research capabilities is available on the WHO website.

The MPS for COVID Research working group was established by NICEATM and NC3Rs to coordinate the use of MPS to reduce animal use in studies of COVID-19 and future emerging infectious diseases. Workgroup members include researchers, MPS model developers, therapeutic/vaccine manufacturers, and international regulators; new members are welcome.

Recent publications

  • NICEATM scientists Helena Hogberg, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and David Allen (ILS, contractor supporting NICEATM) co-authored a new publication that updates guidance on Good Cell and Tissue Culture Practice. The new publication reflects advances in complexity in cell models. It describes six main principles to consider when performing cell culture: characterization and maintenance of essential characteristics, quality management, documentation and reporting, safety, education and training, and ethics.
    Pamies et al. 2021. Guidance document on Good Cell and Tissue Culture Practice 2.0 (GCCP 2.0) [published online ahead of print]. ALTEX. https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.2111011.
  • A new paper in ALTEX details findings of a survey of U.S. federal agencies conducted by the Nanomaterials Workgroup of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), which NICEATM supports. This workgroup characterized U.S. agency requirements and needs for the testing of engineered nanomaterials and considered how NAMs might be identified to avoid the use of animals while fulfilling those requirements. The paper presents the workgroup’s survey findings and discusses the role of dosimetry and interference/bias controls in supporting the ability of NAMs to provide robust results in nanomaterials testing.
    Petersen et al. 2021. U.S. federal agency interests and key considerations for new approach methodologies for nanomaterials [published online ahead of print]. ALTEX. https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.2105041.
  • Allen is co-author on a paper evaluating culturing methods for human precision-cut lung slices, a physiologically relevant in vitro model for inhalation toxicity. The paper highlights the need for the standardization of culture conditions for these models to facilitate interlaboratory comparisons and encourage acceptance by the regulatory community.
    Patel et al. 2021. Comparison of long-term human precision-cut lung slice culture methodology and response to challenge: an argument for standardization. Altern Lab Anim. https://doi.org/10.1177/02611929211061884.
  • Acting NICEATM Director Nicole Kleinstreuer is co-author on a paper describing an artificial intelligence-based web app to assess acute toxicity of chemicals to honeybees. The app performed well in predicting toxicity of pesticides known to be toxic to bees.
    Moreira-Filho et al. 2021. BeeToxAI: An artificial intelligence-based web app to assess acute toxicity of chemicals to honey bees. Artif Intell Life Sci. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ailsci.2021.100013.

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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