Environmental Factor, January 2010, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Stokes Helps Build Pacific Rim Partnerships for Advancing Alternative Testing
By Eddy Ball
With talks and meetings scheduled in Korea and Japan, Rear Admiral William Stokes, D.V.M., a U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer, an Assistant Surgeon General, and the director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM)(https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/evalatm/index.html), faced a busy schedule when he traveled in Asia during November. His visits there were part of an ongoing quest to build global partnerships to advance alternatives to animal testing.
Stokes represented NICEATM, which is the participating U.S. national validation organization for a memorandum of cooperation signed earlier this year by Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., as director of the NIEHS and NTP along with representatives of Europe, Canada, and Japan which established the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM). While the memorandum was a major step forward (see May 2009 eFactor article(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2009/may/toxicity-testing.cfm)), Stokes said, "Greater international cooperation will hasten progress on new safety testing methods that will help further reduce, refine, and replace animal use while ensuring human safety.
Korea is the newest Asian partner in the global effort
During his stop in Seoul, Korea, Stokes delivered a keynote address at the inaugural International Symposium of the Korean Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM). Recently established as part of the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety (NIFDS) in Korea's Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), KoCVAM held its symposium in conjunction with the Sixth Congress of the Korean Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments (KSAAE) at Seoul National University on Nov. 3.
Following an opening address by Dong Sup Kim, Ph.D., president of the KSAAE, and a congratulatory address by Seung-Hee Kim, Ph.D., director general of NIFDS, Stokes spoke on "Validation and Regulatory Acceptance of Alternative Methods for Safety Testing: Recent Progress and Future Directions." He emphasized the need for high quality scientific validation studies for proposed new safety test methods as a prerequisite for regulatory acceptance and use - highlighting new technologies and scientific advances that are expected to support the future development of more predictive safety tests to reduce use of animals.
While in Seoul, Stokes joined Japanese partner, Hajime Kojima. Ph.D., director of the Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM), for a visit to the KFDA, where they met with Kim and Sang Yong Lee, Ph.D., deputy commissioner of the KFDA. They also participated in a KoCVAM colloquium, where they discussed several areas of potential collaboration and made plans to communicate regularly and work toward conducting joint validation studies and test method evaluations in the future.
Stokes speaks at Japanese alternative methods meetings
Stokes was just as busy during his next stop in Japan, where he was an invited speaker at the International Workshop on Skin Safety Evaluation of Cosmetics and Chemicals, held at the International Conference Center in Kyoto on Nov. 5. Later in his visit, Stokes delivered the keynote plenary lecture for the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Alternatives to Animal Experiments (JSAAE), held at Osaka University on Nov. 13-15.
At the Skin Safety workshop, Stokes addressed "Current Validation and Regulatory Acceptance Status of Local Lymph Node Assays (LLNA): Alternative Test Methods for Assessing the Allergic Contact Dermatitis Potential of Chemicals and Products." In this talk, he reviewed the recent evaluation of the validation status of several new versions and applications of the LLNA by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM)(https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/evalatm/index.html).
Afterwards, Stokes met with Director General Masahiro Nishijima, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) in Tokyo and with Kojima and JaCVAM staff to discuss ongoing joint validation and evaluation activities with NICEATM and ICCVAM.
On the final leg of his trip, Stokes enjoyed a warm reception by an audience of 300 scientists at the JSAAE meeting Nov. 13. Stokes explored the topic of "Advancing Laboratory Animal Welfare and Public Health Science: The Role of Innovative Refinement, Reduction, and Replacement Strategies." The theme of the meeting was "The 3Rs: Refinement and then Reduction and Replacement," emphasizing refinement as a way to achieve immediate benefit for the welfare of animals that must still be used.