EU Science Hub

Crossing continents and sectors to accelerate global progress in alternative methods to animal testing

Oct 10 2016

International workshop on alternative non-animal approaches to skin sensitisation assessment of chemicals and meeting of the International Cooperation of Alternative Test Methods (ICATM), 4-6th October 2016, JRC, Ispra.

EURL ECVAM, in collaboration with the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM), hosted a two day workshop on the international regulatory applicability and acceptance of alternative non-animal approaches to skin sensitisation assessment of chemicals used in a variety of sectors.

The workshop brought together regulators and alternative method experts from Europe, China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, South Korea and Japan, working in a variety of sectors, to facilitate a common understanding of the non-animal approaches (i.e. in vitro, in chemico, in silico and read-across) that are available in the area and their current proposed use. The participants focused on the current regulatory requirements for skin sensitisation in different regions by chemical sector (i.e. pesticides, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, etc.) that could be potentially satisfied with the use of non-animal approaches. Working together to identify potential obstacles, the international and cross-sectorial group was able to define initial steps which should be taken to support the regulatory application of these approaches.

The area of skin sensitisation has in recent years been at the centre of concerted efforts to replace animal testing. Progress has been made in the development, validation and regulatory adoption of in chemico and in vitro methods, and various in silico approaches (e.g. (Q)SAR models and expert systems) are available. In parallel, efforts have been made to develop defined approaches to testing and assessment using data generated with these methods, and to derive predictions that would replace information traditionally generated with animal models that can be used in the context of Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA).

Following the workshop, members of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods attended a one-day meeting with EURL ECVAM. Representatives from organisations from China, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, the US and Canada followed up on how to implement the actions decided at the workshop, and also on how to build on current strategies to facilitate and accelerate global progress in the development, validation, acceptance and use of alternative methods to animal testing.