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The Adverse Outcome Pathway Concept: A Basis for Developing Regulatory Decision-making Tools

Nathalie Delrue, Magdalini Sachana, Yuki Sakuratani, Anne Gourmelon, Eeva Leinala, Robert Diderich

The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept is expected to guide risk assessors in their work to use all existing information on the effects of chemicals on humans and wildlife, and to target the generation of additional information to the regulatory objective. AOPs will therefore be used in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) chemical safety programme, as underlying scientific rationales for the development of alternative methods for hazard assessment, such as read-across, in vitro test methods or the development of integrated testing strategies that have the potential to replace animal tests. As a proof-of-concept, the OECD has developed an AOP for skin sensitisation, and as a follow-up has: a) implemented the AOP into the OECD QSAR Toolbox, so that information related to the Key Events (KEs) in the AOP can be used to group chemicals that are expected to act by the same mechanism and hence have the same skin sensitisation potential; b) developed alternative test methods for the KEs, so that ultimately chemicals can be tested for skin sensitisation without the use of animal tests. The development of integrated testing strategies based on the AOP is ongoing. Building on this proof-of-concept, the OECD has launched an AOP development programme with a first batch of AOPs published in 2016. A number of IT tools, which together form an AOP Knowledge Base, are at various stages of development, and support the construction of AOPs and their use in the development of integrated approaches for testing and assessment. Following the publication of the first batch of AOPs, OECD member countries will decide on priorities for their use in supporting the development of tools for regulatory use.
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Local Tolerance Testing Under REACH: Accepted Non-animal Methods Are Not on Equal Footing with Animal Tests

Ursula G. Sauer, Erin H. Hill, Rodger D. Curren, Susanne N. Kolle, Wera Teubner, Annette Mehling and Robert Landsiedel

In general, no single non-animal method can cover the complexity of any given animal test. Therefore, fixed sets of in vitro (and in chemico) methods have been combined into testing strategies for skin and eye irritation and skin sensitisation testing, with pre-defined prediction models for substance classification. Many of these methods have been adopted as OECD test guidelines. Various testing strategies have been successfully validated in extensive in-house and inter-laboratory studies, but they have not yet received formal acceptance for substance classification. Therefore, under the European REACH Regulation, data from testing strategies can, in general, only be used in so-called weight-of-evidence approaches. While animal testing data generated under the specific REACH information requirements are per se sufficient, the sufficiency of weight-of-evidence approaches can be questioned under the REACH system, and further animal testing can be required. This constitutes an imbalance between the regulatory acceptance of data from approved non-animal methods and animal tests that is not justified on scientific grounds. To ensure that testing strategies for local tolerance testing truly serve to replace animal testing for the REACH registration 2018 deadline (when the majority of existing chemicals have to be registered), clarity on their regulatory acceptance as complete replacements is urgently required.

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