We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The JRC has launched an online tool to identify chemicals useful for the development and validation of alternative methods to animal testing.
Individual chemicals are usually examined across many different research projects and are also regulated in various national or international programmes. Knowing which chemicals were looked at in a research project (e.g. a study on carcinogenic properties), and how they are treated from a legal point of view e.g. in Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), gives a valuable insight into their possible role to calibrate, fine tune and assess an alternative method's potential to predict certain properties. The new JRC's Chemical Lists Information System (CheLIST) aims at providing this information.
CheLIST is the first world-wide attempt to compile a cross-referenceable "list of substances lists"; its uniqueness consists of the combination of both regulatory and scientific areas, and its openness to integrate new lists to be considered in the database.
For specific scientific, industrial or regulatory purposes chemicals are grouped and included in various lists. The fact that a given chemical is included in a specific list reveals many details about its properties. Easy access to such information, which is typically scattered across numerous databases, project websites and peer-reviewed literature, should facilitate the work of researchers looking for the right reference chemicals to develop, characterise or validate tests as alternatives to animal-based testing.
The database contains information on chemical identifiers and chemical structure. Various datasets can be compared in order to identify overlaps in chemical membership and to generate customised lists. All lists can be easily downloaded and the references provided for each list allow traceability back to the source. Already included in the database are substances registered under the REACH legislation, those within the United States Environmental Protection Agency Toxicity Forecaster programme (US-EPA ToxCast phase 1 and 2), those registered in the Commission's Directorate-General for Environment Endocrine Active Substances database, and those coming from several projects financed within the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes.
The JRC-hosted European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) is actively involved in the search for test methods which replace, reduce or refine the use of laboratory animals in the safety test process.