Environmental Factor, October 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NTP alternatives center showcases accomplishments
Leaders in U.S. alternative testing clearly enjoyed sharing their accomplishments with counterparts worldwide. Shown, left to right, are Kulpa-Eddy, Stokes, and Chester Gipson, D.V.M., deputy administrator for animal care at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (Photo courtesy of 8th World Congress on Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Montreal, Canada)
Stokes and Chhabra, right, are shown during a break in the proceedings. (Photo courtesy of 8th World Congress on Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Montreal, Canada)
Shown left to right, Casey, Stokes, NIECEATM contractor David Allen, Ph.D., of Integrated Laboratory Systems, Inc., and McFarland flank the World Congress banner with its impressive list of sponsors. (Photo courtesy of 8th World Congress on Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Montreal, Canada)
Members of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) traveled to Montreal, Canada, last month to attend the Eighth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences Aug. 21-25. This international meeting, with more than 800 attendees from 52 countries, provided NICEATM staff with a venue for showcasing their recent accomplishments, as well as a chance to interact with other scientists to identify better and more humane safety testing methods, to protect people, animals, and the environment.
The World Congress is a biennial international scientific conference that supports progress in the life sciences and application of the ethical principles of animal use. The specific goal of this year's World Congress was to explore ways to bridge the gap between science and policy and to identify opportunities for collaboration.
“The World Congress brought together stakeholders interested in both life sciences research and animal welfare from diverse organizations and disciplines,” noted Rear Adm. William Stokes, D.V.M., director of NICEATM. “Since 1993, these meetings have provided important opportunities to exchange information on ways to advance science while observing the three Rs - reducing, refining, and replacing animal use where feasible.”
NICEATM management chair sessions
At the meeting, Stokes chaired a session that reported on a workshop for alternative methods to animal usage in vaccine potency and safety testing. Held in September 2010, this workshop was organized by NICEATM and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) along with various other international validation organizations. The co-chairs of the ICCVAM Interagency Biologics Working Group, Jodie Kulpa-Eddy, D.V.M., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Richard McFarland, M.D., Ph.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, presented summaries of the workshop recommendations for human and veterinary vaccines.
Later in the meeting, Stokes chaired a session that presented updates from the International Cooperation on Alternative Methods (ICATM), a joint, multi-national effort to coordinate the validation, acceptance, and use of alternative methods for safety testing.
NICEATM Deputy Director Warren Casey, Ph.D., co-chaired two sessions at the conference, “Validation and Three Rs Strategies for Assessment of Endocrine-Active Substances,” and “Update on New In Vitro Models for Detection and Potency Assessment of Botulinum Neurotoxin.”
In other activities at the meeting, Stokes spoke on “Validation of the 21st Century Toxicology Toolbox: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Way Forward” at a session focused on the process of ascertaining that a test method is accurate and reproducible. Nine poster presentations by NICEATM staff and ICCVAM members highlighted activities related to allergic contact dermatitis testing, ocular safety testing, and vaccine potency and safety testing. Rajendra Chhabra, Ph.D., director of toxicology training and coordination in the Division of the NTP presented a poster on environmental enrichment of animals in NTP studies.
NICEATM participates in World Congress satellite meetings
Stokes and Casey participated in a satellite workshop focused on developing alternatives to the in vivo test commonly used for evaluating the safety of pertussis vaccines. Co-organized by NICEATM with Health Canada, and co-chaired by McFarland, the workshop reviewed new in vitro methods, and discussed additional studies that may be necessary. A follow-up meeting hosted by NICEATM and ICCVAM will be held in September 2012 at the William H. Natcher Conference Center at NIH in Bethesda, Md.
On the final day of the World Conference, NICEATM staff participated in a coordination meeting with representatives of each ICATM organization. This provided an opportunity for the five ICATM organizations to discuss activities in the three major areas of cooperation: test method validation studies, international peer reviews, and harmonized test method recommendations.
A summary of all NICEATM-ICCVAM activities at the Eighth World Congress, including abstracts of poster and platform presentations and copies of all posters, can be found on the NICEATM-ICCVAM website(http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/) . Proceedings of the World Congress will be published as a special issue of the journal ALTEX in 2012.
NICEATM to sponsor rabies vaccine workshop
One of the top priority recommendations from the September 2010 NICEATM-ICCVAM workshop on vaccine potency and safety testing was to convene a workshop on alternatives to current methods for potency testing of rabies vaccines. That recommendation will be addressed at a workshop to be held Oct. 11-13 in Ames, Iowa. Information on the “International Workshop on Alternative Methods for Human and Veterinary Rabies Vaccine Testing: State of the Science and Planning the Way Forward” is available on the NICEATM-ICCVAM website(http://iccvam.niehs.nih.gov/) .
The rabies vaccine workshop is being organized by NICEATM and ICCVAM along with their ICATM partners, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, the Japanese Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods, and Health Canada.