Robert Combes, Christina Grindon, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod
Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME conducted a joint research project, sponsored by Defra, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with REACH. This paper focuses on the use of alternative (non-animal) methods (both in vitro and in silico) for acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetic testing. The paper reviews in vitro tests based on basal cytotoxicity and target organ toxicity, along with QSAR models and expert systems available for this endpoint. The use of PBPK modelling for the prediction of ADME properties is also discussed. These tests are then incorporated into a decision- tree style, integrated testing strategy, which also includes the use of refined in vivo acute toxicity tests, as a last resort. The implementation of the strategy is intended to minimise the use of animals in the testing of acute systemic toxicity and toxicokinetics, whilst satisfying the scientific and logistical demands of the EU REACH legislation.
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