The IHCP's High Throughput Screening (HTS) facility is equipped with sophisticated robotic platforms for reliable and rapid testing of chemicals on cell cultures
Chemical toxicity testing: transatlantic cooperation
The JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) and the National Centre for Computational Toxicology (NCCT) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency have signed an agreement to facilitate exchange of research materials and results useful for the development of integrated methods for predicting chemical toxicity.
The NCCT, through its ToxCast programme, is generating toxicological profiles of hundreds of reference chemicals using a comprehensive array of automated high throughput screening assays. The intention is to use this unique dataset to build computational models to identify chemicals that may have adverse effects on human health and the environment, and to establish priorities for more in-depth testing. This endeavour fits well with the work programme of the IHCP in the area of chemical safety, where efforts are focused on the design and evaluation of integrated testing strategies for predicting chemical toxicity, by combining chemical-grouping approaches, computational modelling and in vitro testing.
A common theme underlying this collaboration is the shift towards mode-of-action or toxicological pathway based hazard assessment which is expected to provide a scientifically grounded regulatory framework where alternative methods are a key component, thus reducing the reliance on animal testing.
On his recent visit to the IHCP to finalise the details of the agreement, Dr. Bob Kavlock, Director of the NCCT, commented that, "this agreement will close gaps in our ToxCast program by bringing additional expertise in computational toxicology and assay development into the effort and it helps solidify transatlantic progress in improving the protection of human health and the environment". On that occasion the Director of IHCP, Prof. Dr. Elke Anklam, also highlighted the importance of formalising this research collaboration between the EPA and the JRC - "ensuring the highest standards for chemical safety, while reducing our reliance on animal testing and maintaining industrial competitiveness, is a global challenge that requires international collaboration to find workable solutions".