Launch of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science

Rebecca Ram

The Alliance is an exciting new collaboration, founded to address an urgent need to drive research and development, policymaking, awareness, outreach, and education into human-based methods of safety testing and biomedical research
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Predicting Human Drug Toxicity and Safety via Animal Tests: Can Any One Species Predict Drug Toxicity in Any Other, and Do Monkeys Help?

Jarrod Bailey, Michelle Thew and Michael Balls

Animals are still widely used in drug development and safety tests, despite evidence for their lack of predictive value. In this regard, we recently showed, by producing Likelihood Ratios (LRs) for an extensive data set of over 3,000 drugs with both animal and human data, that the absence of toxicity in animals provides little or virtually no evidential weight that adverse drug reactions will also be absent in humans. While our analyses suggest that the presence of toxicity in one species may sometimes add evidential weight for risk of toxicity in another, the LRs are extremely inconsistent, varying substantially for different classes of drugs. Here, we present further data from analyses of other species pairs, including nonhuman primates (NHPs), which support our previous conclusions, and also show in particular that test results inferring an absence of toxicity in one species provide no evidential weight with regard to toxicity in any other species, even when data from NHPs and humans are compared. Our results for species including humans, NHPs, dogs, mice, rabbits, and rats, have major implications for the value of animal tests in predicting human toxicity, and demand that human-focused alternative methods are adopted in their place as a matter of urgency.
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A Normal and Biotransforming Model of the Human Bronchial Epithelium for the Toxicity Testing of Aerosols and Solubilised Substances

Zoë C. Prytherch and Kelly A. BéruBé

In this article, we provide an overview of the experimental workflow by the Lung and Particle Research Group at Cardiff University, that led to the development of the two in vitro lung models — the normal human bronchial epithelium (NHBE) model and the lung–liver model, Metabo-Lung™. This work was jointly awarded the 2013 Lush Science Prize. The NHBE model is a three-dimensional, in vitro, human tissue-based model of the normal human bronchial epithelium, and Metabo-Lung involves the co-culture of the NHBE model with primary human hepatocytes, thus permitting the biotransformation of inhaled toxicants in an in vivo-like manner. Both models can be used as alternative test systems that could replace the use of animals in research and development for safety and toxicity testing in a variety of industries (e.g. the pharmaceutical, environmental, cosmetics, and food industries). Metabo-Lung itself is a unique tool for the in vitro detection of toxins produced by reactive metabolites. This 21st century animal replacement model could yield representative in vitro predictions for in vivo toxicity. This advancement in in vitro toxicology relies on filter-well technology that will enable a wide-spectrum of researchers to create viable and economic alternatives for respiratory safety assessment and disease-focused research.
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An Analysis of the Use of Animal Models in Predicting Human Toxicology and Drug Safety

Jarrod Bailey, Michelle Thew and Michael Balls

Animal use continues to be central to preclinical drug development, in spite of a lack of its demonstrable validity. The current nadir of new drug approvals and the drying-up of pipelines may be a direct consequence of this. To estimate the evidential weight given by animal data to the probability that a new drug may be toxic to humans, we have calculated Likelihood Ratios (LRs) for an extensive data set of 2,366 drugs, for which both animal and human data are available, including tissue-level effects and MedDRA Level 1–4 biomedical observations. This was done for three preclinical species (rat, mouse and rabbit), to augment our previously-published analysis of canine data. In common with our dog analysis, the resulting LRs show: a) that the absence of toxicity in the animal provides little or virtually no evidential weight that adverse drug reactions (ADRs) will also be absent in humans; and b) that, while the presence of toxicity in these species can add considerable evidential weight for human risk, the LRs are extremely inconsistent, varying by over two orders of magnitude for different classes of compounds and their effects. Therefore, our results for these additional preclinical species have important implications for their use in predicting human toxicity, and suggest that alternative methods are urgently required.

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Introduction to the Abstracts of the International Symposium on Alternate Animal Models in Biological Research: Present and Future Perspective in Toxicology

<h3>Conference abstracts</h3>

An international symposium, on Alternate Animal
Models in Biological Research: Present and Future
Perspective in Toxicology, was organised by the
Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR),
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
(CSIR), Lucknow, India, on 29–31 October 2010.
The symposium stemmed from an ongoing international
collaborative programme between the
IITR and the University of Nottingham, UK, with
the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India
(IIT-K) as a satellite partner, under the aegis of
the UK–India Education and Research Initiative
(UK–IERI; British Council, UK) Major Research
Award Project (MA-05).

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MEIC Evaluation of Acute Systemic Toxicity

Björn Ekwall, Cecilia Clemedson, Balcarras Crafoord

The Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme was set up to evaluate the relevance for acute human systemic toxicity of in vitro cytotoxicity tests. At the end of the programme in the summer of 1996, 29 laboratories had tested all 50 reference chemicals in 61 cytotoxicity assays. As a necessary prerequisite to the forthcoming evaluation papers of this series, this paper presents the animal and human toxicity data of the programme. This database contains tabulated handbook data for the 50 chemicals, on: a) oral rat and mouse LD50 values; b) acute oral lethal doses in humans; c) clinically measured acute lethal serum concentrations in humans; d) acute lethal blood concentrations in humans measured postmortem; e) peaks from curves of an approximate 50% lethal blood/serum concentration over time after ingestion (LC50 curves), derived from a compilation of human acute poisoning case reports; f) human kinetics of single doses, including absorption, peak time, distribution/elimination curve, plasma half-life, distribution volume, distribution to organs (notably brain), and blood protein binding; and g) qualitative human acute toxicity data, including lethal symptoms, main causes of death, average time to death, target organs, presence of histopathological injury in target organs, presence of toxic metabolites, and known or hypothetical mechanisms for the lethal toxicity. The rationales for selection of the human toxicity data are also noted. The methods used to compile the in vivo toxicity data are described, including a presentation of a new method of constructing LC50 curves. Finally, the merits and shortcomings of the various human toxicity data for evaluation purposes are discussed.
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EDIT: A New International Multicentre Programme to Develop and Evaluate Batteries of In Vitro Tests for Acute and Chronic Systemic Toxicity

Björn Ekwall, Cecilia Clemedson, Barbro Ekwall, Patrik Ring and Lennart Romert

The Multicenter Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme provided a battery of three basal cytotoxicity tests with a good (R2 = 0.77) prediction of human acute lethal blood concentrations. The predictive power of this battery would be considerably improved by the addition of new supplementary in vitro tests. The development of these new tests will be facilitated by a close coupling of test development to evaluation. The Cytotoxicology Laboratory, Uppsala (CTLU), is therefore inviting all interested in vitro toxicologists to take part in the Evaluation-guided Development of In Vitro Toxicity and Toxicokinetic Tests (EDIT). All EDIT activities (subprojects) will be designed on a case-by-case basis, but will follow a common pattern. The CTLU will use the accumulated MEIC/EDIT data, and its experience from the previous MEIC evaluation, to suggest priority areas, i.e. the need for certain in vitro toxicity data/tests as supplements to existing in vitro models/batteries on human systemic toxicity. Detailed research programmes corresponding to these areas will be published on the Internet. The CTLU will also try to raise funds for some projects and will coordinate multilaboratory studies. Interested laboratories developing or already using priority tests are encouraged to join the subprojects and to test specific sets of substances (usually sets of MEIC reference chemicals) in their new assays. The CTLU will provide adequate human reference data and will also evaluate results as single components of complex models, together with the laboratory conducting the test. At present, ten priority areas have been identified: a) repeat dose toxicity in vitro; b) urgent mechanistic information from in vitro studies of protein denaturation, morphology of cell injury, differential toxicity between various rapidly measured endpoints (10–60 minutes) and 24-hour cytotoxicity, toxicity to aerobic cells, and discrimination between rapid and slow cytotoxic mechanisms; c) in vitro tests on vitally important, specific receptor toxicity in humans; d) excitatory cytotoxicity; e) reversibility of cell toxicity; f) in vitro tests on passage across the blood–brain barrier; g) in vitro tests on absorption in the gut; h) protein binding in vitro; i) in vitro tests on distribution volumes (Vd); and j) in vitro tests on biotransformation to more-toxic metabolites (hepatocytes plus target cells). This paper gives a short presentation of the rationale for each subproject and reports on ongoing activities.
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Genomics: An In Vitro Toxicology Point of View

Raffaella Corvi

Genomics, and in particular its derived discipline, toxicogenomics, are rapidly developing technologies, which permit studies on the impact of chemicals and drugs on gene expression in particular biological systems. Enormous amounts of data will be provided in the context of mechanistic and predictive toxicology from the use of the DNA microarray approach for the simultaneous analysis of the expression pattern of multiple genes. The high-throughput requirement of these approaches necessitates in vitrocell culture systems. This article will give a short overview of the areas of ECVAM's research in which this technology will initially be applied.
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