Replacing Animal Use in Toxicity Testing

NAVS/IFER-funded researcher Georgina Harris, whose work has included assessing developmental neurotoxicity in vitro using human cells.

Last month, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) took an important step towards replacing the use of animals in toxicity testing. ICCVAM, which is comprised of members from 16 federal agencies, developed a plan entitled “A Strategic Roadmap for Establishing New Approaches to Evaluate the Safety of Chemicals and Medical Products in the United States.” The plan is designed to help guide the development and implementation of human-relevant, non-animal alternatives.  

The purpose of the Strategic Roadmap is “to expedite the use of 21st century science to protect and improve public health” by building “a new framework to enable development, establish confidence in, and ensure use of new approaches to toxicity testing that improve human health relevance and reduce or eliminate the need for testing in animals.”

The three main goals of the Roadmap include:

  • Connecting the end users of alternatives with those who develop the alternatives;
  • Ensuring that stakeholders and federal agencies work together to establish confidence in the alternatives; and
  • Encouraging the adoption and use of alternatives by federal agencies and regulated industries.

Because many of the currently accepted approaches for toxicity testing rely heavily on animal models, despite their known limitations, taking more active steps to have non-animal methods used for this purpose has a lot of potential for reducing animal use.

Many steps have already been taken toward beginning to implement the Roadmap in different areas of testing. We look forward to hearing more about the progress being made with this initiative, which will be reported on during upcoming scientific meetings this spring.

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Sources: “Roadmap to Guide Progress Toward Replacing Animal use in Toxicity Testing,” NIH News Release, January 30, 2018.

“A Strategic Roadmap for Establishing New Approaches to Evaluate the Safety of Chemicals and Medical Products in the United States,” Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, January 2018.


This entry was posted in News and tagged on February 19, 2018.
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