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Environmental Factor, September 2012

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NICEATM publishes biennial report

By Debbie McCarley and Cathy Sprankle

NICEATM report cover page

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) has published a biennial progress report for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM). The 2010-2011 ICCVAM Biennial Progress Report, NIH Publication No. 12-7873, describes progress in advancing new and improved safety assessment methods based on the efforts of ICCVAM, which is administered and supported by NICEATM.

ICCVAM, composed of representatives from 15 federal regulatory and research agencies, was established to coordinate interagency evaluations of new test methods used to satisfy regulatory requirements for chemical and product safety testing. A provision of the ICCVAM Authorization Act of 2000 directs ICCVAM to release publically available biennial reports on its progress. This newly available report is the sixth in this series.

“Having accurate safety testing information about chemicals and other substances that might cause injury or disease is key to injury prevention and good health. Innovative new safety testing methods are helping to provide improved information to support these prevention efforts,” commented NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., in her preface to the report. “This biennial report documents the significant progress and contributions that NICEATM and ICCVAM have made during the past two years in achieving the regulatory acceptance and implementation of scientifically valid new safety testing methods.”

Since ICCVAM was established, NICEATM, ICCVAM, and the ICCVAM member agencies have contributed to the regulatory acceptance of more than 50 alternative methods.

“During the past two years, NICEATM, ICCVAM, and ICCVAM agencies have contributed to the national and international endorsement and adoption of 14 new and updated safety testing methods,” notes Rear Adm. William Stokes, D.V.M., director of NICEATM and executive director of ICCVAM.“This has been the most productive period yet for NICEATM and ICCVAM. These new test methods will support and improve public health while also providing for improved testing efficiency and contributing to reduced and more humane animal use.”

“This report highlights the continued commitment of NICEATM and ICCVAM to gaining regulatory acceptance of scientifically valid new and updated test methods that will continue to support the health of people, animals, and the environment,” commented ICCVAM Chair Jodie Kulpa-Eddy, D.V.M., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Report is now available

The 2010-2011 ICCVAM Biennial Progress Report is available on the NICEATM-ICCVAM website. Copies of the report can also be obtained by contacting NICEATM.

(Debbie McCarley is a special assistant to Stokes. Cathy Sprankle is a communications specialist with ILS, Inc., support contractor for NICEATM.)

Signers of the updated ICATM agreement

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., left, was among the signers of the updated ICATM agreement in March 2011. Also present at the signing, standing, from left, were ICCVAM Chair Jodie Kulpa-Eddy, D.V.M, and NICEATM Director William Stokes, D.V.M. The signing of the updated ICATM agreement is one of the key events summarized in the ICCVAM 2010-2011 Biennial Report. (Photo courtesy of NICEATM)

Highlights of the report

  • NIEHS, on behalf of NICEATM and ICCVAM, signed an agreement to expand the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM). ICATM was established in 2009 to expedite the worldwide validation, harmonization, and regulatory acceptance of improved alternative test methods.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted an international guidance document prepared by NICEATM and ICCVAM that describes how to use in vitro test methods to reduce animal use for tests required to identify potentially poisonous substances by up to 50 percent.
  • Federal agencies and the OECD adopted several new versions and applications of the murine local lymph node assay (LLNA), an alternative method for assessing whether substances may cause allergic contact dermatitis that reduces and refines animal use.
  • Federal agencies adopted ICCVAM-recommended alternative test methods and procedures that will further reduce animal use for eye safety testing, and improve animal welfare in those cases where animal testing is still necessary.
  • NICEATM, ICCVAM, and their ICATM partners convened a workshop that recommended priority research to develop improved and more efficient test methods for human and veterinary vaccine potency and safety testing. A focused workshop on human and veterinary rabies vaccine test methods was held in 2011, and additional focused workshops are planned for 2012 and 2013.

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