ATLA 31.5, November 2003

//ATLA 31.5, November 2003

QSAR, Read-across and REACH

ATLA Staff Writer

(Quantitative) structure–activity relationships [(Q)SARs] and read-across, together with in vitro tests, must play a key role in the evaluation of the toxicity of chemicals in the proposed European Union (EU) REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) programme, if largescale animal testing of chemicals is to be avoided.1,2
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2017-01-09T06:31:38+00:00 Tags: |

ECVAM News & Views

ATLA Staff Writer

ECVAM’s Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC)
ECVAM Workshops
Joint Research Centre (JRC) Enlargement Action
ECVAM Task Forces
Visit of Michael Balls
ECVAM’s Website
ECVAM Publications
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2017-01-09T06:31:40+00:00 Tags: |

ECVAM’s Response to the Changing Political Environment for Alternatives: Consequences of the European Union Chemicals and Cosmetics Policies

Thomas Hartung, Susanne Bremer, Silvia Casati, Sandra Coecke, Raffaella Corvi, Salvador Fortaner, Laura Gribaldo, Marlies Halder, Annett Janusch Roi, Pilar Prieto, Enrico Sabbioni, Andrew Worth and Valerie Zuang

The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) has restructured its services by directly targeting the animal tests that need to be replaced. In view of the short time-lines for making available and implementing validated methods, ECVAM is offering to steer the process by bringing together the inputs of stakeholders and encouraging the early involvement of regulators. In essence, steering groups formed by ECVAM senior staff, and complemented with external experts, will carry out the project management and will coordinate the various inputs.
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A Survey of Consumer Attitudes to the Supply and Use of Human Hepatocytes in the United Kingdom

Tom D.R. Lloyd, Samantha Orr and Ashley R. Dennison

Human hepatocytes are the model of choice for pharmacotoxicological studies, but their acquisition is often problematic due to ethical and logistical difficulties. The UK Human Tissue Bank is a notfor-profit organisation that acquires and processes human tissue, with a specialist interest in the isolation of human hepatocytes. A recent in-house survey of the processing of liver tissue over 1 year revealed that freshly isolated hepatocytes were underutilised due to mismatched consumer demand, despite the published need for them. We present the results of a telephone survey to investigate the reasons behind this paradox. This survey highlighted some problem areas, including “out of hours” availability of cells and personnel difficulties, but overall, demonstrated the value of such a service, with numerous researchers taking advantage of available good quality human hepatocytes. Although further work is required in optimising long-term storage protocols through cryopreservation, we have demonstrated that tissue handling of this type can be successful and beneficial to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
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A Critical Assessment of the OECD Collaborative Study to Validate the Uterotrophic Assay for the Detection of Oestrogenic and Anti-oestrogenic Chemicals

Robert D. Combes

The design and execution of a recently completed validation study on the rat uterotrophic assay for detecting oestrogens and anti-oestrogens, managed by the OECD, are critically assessed with respect to internationally agreed criteria for the validation of new in vitro and in vivo toxicity test methods. It is concluded that, while the design of the study did not take account of several important criteria for validation, the uterotrophic assay appears to reliably detect the strong and weak oestrogenic substances used in the study, which act via binding to the oestrogen receptor in vivo. However, the reliability of the assay has not been substantiated for detecting anti-oestrogens that act as antagonists, due to the involvement of an insufficient number of experiments and test chemicals. Moreover, the data do not permit an assessment of the accuracy of the prediction of oestrogenicity, and the protocols have not been sufficiently optimised with regard to controlling variables. This problem has been exacerbated by a wish to introduce as much flexibility as possible into the protocols during the formal validation phase of the study, rather than during a separate prevalidation stage. In addition, the choice between surgically treated and/or immature animals, and details of housing and husbandry conditions that are necessary for increasing the sensitivity and efficiency of the assay, need to be clarified. The assay also lacks a well-defined prediction model by which the overall relevance of the data to toxicity, and especially to human hazard, can be assessed, and no performance criteria have been established. The results of this analysis of the study indicate that it would be premature to produce an OECD test guideline for the uterotrophic assay at this time, before some of the above issues have been satisfactorily resolved.
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A Survey of Stakeholder Organisations on the Proposed New European Chemicals Policy

Jennifer Dandrea and Robert D. Combes

In February 2001, the European Commission published a White Paper proposing that a single new system of chemical regulation should be applied throughout the Member States of the European Union. The proposed Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) system was to include both new and existing chemicals, with the aim of ensuring that sufficient pertinent data were made available to enable human health and the environment to be protected. The policy was founded on the principle of sustainable industrial development, and ambitiously attempted to incorporate the needs and views of key stakeholder organisations, such as industry, trade associations, consumer groups, environmentalists, animal welfarists and Member State governments. During the period between the publication of the White Paper and the on-line publication of consultation documents, as part of a public consultation exercise, in May 2003, many of these key stakeholder organisations produced material in support of or critical of the White Paper, either in part or as a whole. In this paper, we have attempted to review this extensive material and to present it in the context of the current chemical regulatory system that the REACH system will replace. Emphasis is placed on the impact of the new policy on the number of animals used in the testing regimes within the REACH system and the inclusion of alternative methods into the legislation. Although supportive of the overriding aims of the new policy, FRAME believes that the fundamental concept
of a risk-free environment is flawed, and that the new REACH system will involve the unjustifiable use of millions of laboratory animals. The new policy does include alternative methods, particularly for baseset substances. Nevertheless, alternative testing methods that are already available have been excluded and replaced with outdated in vivo versions. There is also insufficient detail with regard to the further development and validation of alternative methods, particularly for substances of high concern, such as endocrine disrupters or reproductive toxins, for which no alternative testing methods currently exist.
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FRAME and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: Common Recommendations for Assessing Risks Posed by Chemicals under the EU REACH System

Robert D. Combes, Jennifer Dandrea and Michael Balls

This document discusses recommendations made by FRAME and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) with regard to the current European Commission proposals on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) system for assessing the risks of chemicals to humans, wildlife and the environment. Of several common aims and recommendations, the two most important are: a) the greater use of non-animal testing methods, especially computational prediction methods (for example, [quantitative] structure–activity relationships, expert systems and biokinetic modelling) for prioritising chemicals for hazard assessment; and b) the greater use of intelligent exposure-based targeted risk assessment, with less emphasis being placed on tonnage-triggers. FRAME has produced a decision-tree testing scheme to illustrate the way in which these approaches could be used, together with in vitro test methods. This scheme has been slightly modified to take account of proposals subsequently made by the RCEP. In addition, FRAME points out that new and improved computational methods are needed through more coordinated research, and that these and existing methods need to be validated. The similarities between the independent publications of FRAME and the RCEP add weight to the recommendations that each have made concerning the implementation of the REACH system.
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