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NTP Hosts International Visitors

By Debbie McCarley
July 2010

Joachim  Kreysa, Ph.D., left, and William Stokes, D.V.M.
Kreysa, left, and Stokes posed outside NTP offices during the international visitors' meetings with the agency's scientists. The two faced a very busy next two days with the SACATM meeting at nearby EPA. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Rear Admiral William Stokes, D.V.M., director of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) (http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/about/about_NICEATM.htm), hosted a visit by representatives from the European Union and the Republic of Korea June 16. The meetings fostered discussion of progress on international efforts to reduce the number of animals required for product safety testing and to develop internationally consistent regulations and guidelines for more human toxicological methods.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the participants to review the progress of ongoing international validation studies evaluating new non-animal test methods to identify potential hazards. In addition to discussing the progress of ongoing validation studies, the international visitors attended the annual meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park campus June 17 and 18 (see story (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2010/july/spotlight-committee.cfm)).

Joachim Kreysa, Ph.D., head of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), attended the international meeting. ECVAM is a unit of the Joint Research Centre within the European Commission's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection.

Two representatives of the Korean Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM) also attended - Soon Young Han, Ph.D., director of KoCVAM, and Chea-Hyung Lim, D.V.M. KoCVAM is part of the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety in the Korean Food and Drug Administration. Han and Lim also met with NTP Associate Director John Bucher, Ph.D., and other NIEHS scientists.

Stokes was a featured speaker at the symposium celebrating establishment of KoCVAM last year. Hajime Kojima, Ph.D., director of the Japanese Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Methods (JaCVAM) provided a written update on Japanese activities that was presented at the meeting.

ECVAM and JaCVAM are participants in the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM), through which the ongoing validation studies are being coordinated. ICATM was established last year as the result of efforts initiated by NICEATM and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) (http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/about/about_ICCVAM.htm), an interagency committee of the U.S. federal government administered by NICEATM.

The ICATM agreement provides a framework through which NICEATM and ICCVAM can cooperate with other international validation organizations to speed the international acceptance of scientifically valid test methods that may reduce, refine, or replace animal use while continuing to protect people, animals, and the environment. Representatives of NICEATM and ICCVAM, ECVAM, JaCVAM, and Health Canada signed the ICATM agreement. KoCVAM has expressed interest in joining ICATM.

The ICATM agreement facilitates activities such as the ongoing validation studies led by NICEATM. These studies are evaluating test methods to identify potential endocrine disruptors and were designed by NICEATM in consultation with ICATM participants. Laboratories in Japan and Korea, sponsored by JaCVAM and KoCVAM, are participating in the studies to ensure the test methods yield consistent results when conducted by different laboratories.

ECVAM, JaCVAM, Health Canada, and KoCVAM will have an opportunity to nominate experts to participate on a NICEATM-ICCVAM-sponsored peer review panel that will be convened in 2011 to review the data from the validation studies and the draft ICCVAM recommendations on the use of the test methods.  Following the peer review, ICCVAM will develop final recommendations for U.S. federal agencies. These recommendations will consider the results of the peer review and public comments, as well as comments from the advisory committee and from other ICATM participants.

Active participation of ICATM members throughout the validation study, peer review, and development of final recommendations increases the likelihood that the ICCVAM recommendations will be used to develop internationally consistent regulations and guidelines. Similar international cooperation led to the recent international acceptance of test methods recommended by ICCVAM that identify eye irritation hazards and substances that may cause allergic contact dermatitis.

(Debbie McCarley is a special assistant in National Toxicology Program office.)

Guide to Acronyms

(in order of appearance)

  • NICEATM - NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods
  • ECVAM - European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods
  • KoCVAM - Korean Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods
  • JaCVAM - Japanese Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Methods
  • JaCVAM - Japanese Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Methods
  • ICATM - International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods
  • ICCVAM - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods


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