mtg room crop

Report on the SOT Satellite Meeting, “Updates on Activities Related to 21st Century Toxicology and Evidence-based Toxicology”

(Reprinted from the April AltTox Digest; used with permission.)

At the start of this year’s SOT satellite meeting, “Updates on Activities Related to 21st Century Toxicology and Evidence-based Toxicology” (co-sponsored by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing [CAAT], the Human Toxicology Project Consortium [HTPC] and the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration [EBTC]), co-moderator Thomas Hartung noted that the annual gathering began in 2009 with 12 people in attendance.  This year, at least 80 people attended – an impressive crowd for a meeting that takes place in the final hours of the week-long Society of Toxicology convention. The annual meeting features updates on US and EU programs and projects dedicated to advancing the toxicity-testing paradigm outlined in the NRC’s 2007 report, Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy.

Richard Paules (US National Toxicology Program) started the presentations with a report on progress in the interagency Tox21 program. The program has moved into Phase III, during which they will be increasing the use of computer models for in vitro to in vivo extrapolation, adding new cell lines, expanding the pathway coverage and human relevance of assays, and developing a high-throughput (HT) transcriptomics platform.

Rusty Thomas (US Environmental Protection Agency) then described a number of initiatives underway in the ToxCast program, including research to develop the metabolic competence of existing assays, developing new assays for priority targets such as the thyroid, and exploring the use of organotypic cell cultures. ToxCast is also expanding its read-across program (and recently hired AltTox Editorial Board member Grace Patlewicz to spearhead that effort).

David Dix (US Environmental Protection Agency) gave an overview of the progress in the EPA’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), noting that improved technologies are greatly accelerating the project. The agency is concentrating on building user confidence in its screening battery and expanding the use of computational modeling. (Read an introduction to the EDSP in this two-part In the Spotlight article.)

Melvin Andersen (Hamner Institutes), a co-author of the NRC’s 2007 report, noted that considerable technical and scientific progress has been accomplished in the 8 years since publication of the NRC’s recommendations. Several key pathways have been well-described, and others are under construction. The new challenge is to determine how to communicate this progress to the public, and build their confidence in these methods.

Mark Cronin (Liverpool John Moores University) then provided an overview and update on the six components of the EU’s SEURAT-1 program. (Read more about the SEURAT-1 program in this New Perspective article.) A number of useful tools are coming out of this project, but the key outputs are proof-of-concept case studies. Level 1 studies are designed to demonstrate methods for consolidating existing knowledge to describe key adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). Level 2 studies demonstrate the integration of in vitro and in silico tools to generate predictive models. Level 3 studies, to be finalized later this year, will demonstrate how these models and knowledge bases can be used in quantitative and read-across-based risk assessment and decision-making.

Thomas Hartung reported on the activities of CAAT. Among many initiatives, CAAT is developing a read-across program that aims to facilitate 2018 REACH registrations. CAAT has also been coordinating a series of workshops in Europe and the US to advance “green toxicology” – using in silico tools to design safer chemicals. Filling in for scheduled presenter Marty Stephens, Hartung also described the work of the EBTC, which has been developing and promoting the methods and uses of systematic review in toxicology. Hartung noted that evidence-based toxicology stands to advance twenty-first century toxicology in several ways, including providing a means of assessing the quality of legacy data and new assays, providing guidance on integrating data sources, and ultimately using this information to facilitate validation procedures.

Catherine Willett updated the group on HTPC activities. Willett explained that the HTPC focuses its efforts on three areas: contributing to the advance of relevant science by sponsoring workshops and seminars, lobbying in the US and EU to increase funding for key government initiatives, and developing communication strategies to encourage regulatory and public acceptance of the NRC’s testing strategy. In the last year, the group has especially concentrated on this third area, developing an informative graphic and a series of videos that will be posted on the group’s website later this year. She noted that the HTPC also co-sponsored a seminar at SOT this year – “AOPs 201,” which covered the development and use of AOPs for regulatory purposes. Videos from the seminar will be shared on the group’s website.

The meeting closed with its traditional “open mic” segment – inviting short presentations or discussion questions from those in attendance. The update meeting will convene again at the end of next year’s SOT convention in New Orleans.

(Registered participants of the meeting will be able to access presentation slides on the EBTC website.)

alternative toxicity testing AOPs computational toxicology HTPC partners Meetings & Events Tox21 ToxCast
SatelliteRoom

HTPC co-sponsoring two events at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting in San Diego

The Human Toxicology Project Consortium will once again co-sponsor two ancillary events at the Society of Toxicology’s annual meeting in San Diego in March.

Along with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, we’re excited to expand the popular AOPs 101 series with a new workshop: “AOPs 201”: A Seminar on Development, Recording, and Use of Adverse Outcome Pathways.  This event will take place Monday, March 23, from 5:00 PM–7:30 PM (local time) at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in Marina Ballroom F.

Then on March 26, we’ll join HTPC partner Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing and the Human Toxome Project in co-sponsoring the annual satellite meeting, Updates on Activities Related to 21st Century Toxicology and Evidence-based Toxicology: Invited Presentations and Open Microphone.  This event will be held in the Hillcrest Room of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, from 12:30 to 4:00 PM (local time).  Invited speakers and topics include:

  • Richard Paules (US National Toxicology Program) – Tox21 Update
  • Russell Thomas (US Environmental Protection Agency) – ToxCast Update
  • David Dix (US Environmental Protection Agency) – EDSP21 Update
  • Melvin Andersen (Hamner Institutes) – Hamner TT21C Update
  • Mark Cronin (Liverpool John Moores University) – SEURAT Update
  • Thomas Hartung (Johns Hopkins) – CAAT’s Read-across Initiative and Human Toxome-related Activity Update
  • Catherine Willett (HTPC) – Human Toxicology Project Consortium Update
  • Martin Stephens (Johns Hopkins) – Evidence-based Toxicology Update

For those planning to attend SOT 2015, more information about this satellite meeting is available here (the event is free; box lunches will be provided to pre-registrants).

AOPs Meetings & Events
Nicole Kleinstreuer (ILS, Inc./NICEATM)

Another successful “AOPs 101″ session

Anne Gourlemon (OECD)

Anne Gourlemon (OECD)

On Sunday, August 24 – just ahead of the 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (“WC9″) in Prague – the HTPC and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) co-sponsored an “AOPs 101″ session.  Like the sessions offered at SOT earlier this year, this one was designed to introduce the Adverse Outcome Pathway concept to scientists who want to learn more about it, including how to apply it in their own work.

The session opened with an overview and introduction by Catherine Willett (HTPC).  Anne Gourmelon presented on the OECD’s AOP program.  Kristie Sullivan (PCRM) gave an introduction to the AOP Wiki, and Hristo Aladjov (OECD) introduced Effectopedia.  These overview talks were followed by two case study presentations: Joanna Jaworska (Procter & Gamble) described the use of AOPs in a Bayesian network ITS framework to assess skin sensitization, and Nicole Kleinstreuer (ILS, Inc./NICEATM) described the construction of AOPs for developmental toxicities.  The talks generated excellent follow-up questions and discussion.

Nicole Kleinstreuer (ILS, Inc./NICEATM)

Nicole Kleinstreuer (ILS, Inc./NICEATM)

Kristie Sullivan (PCRM)

Kristie Sullivan (PCRM)

9th World Congress on Alternatives AOPs Meetings & Events
Stare-Mesto-Prague-creative-commons-e1383206240634

AOP workshop in Prague

At the 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, the HTPC – along with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) – will co-sponsor an introductory workshop on Adverse Outcome Pathways, “AOPs 101: The How and Why of Development and Use,” on August 24, 2014 from 10 AM to 12 PM at Riverdance + Hibernia Conference Halls, Jurys Inn (next to the WC9 venue).

The curriculum will compliment several presentations on AOPs at the World Congress, and is intended for those scientists who are not yet familiar with the AOP concept but would like to learn to apply it to their own work, or would like to become involved in ongoing projects. An overview of “what, why, and how” will be given according to the latest existing international guidance, and experts will present case studies demonstrating AOP development and application.

A draft agenda is available here.

9th World Congress on Alternatives AOPs Meetings & Events slideshow
guineapg

HTPC co-sponsors training in non-animal cosmetics testing

HTPC is co-sponsoring an important training program coordinated by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) and Humane Society International (HSI), to introduce Chinese scientists and regulators to non-animal methods for cosmetics testing.  As part of the program, scientists will receive hands-on training in state-of-the-art in vitro methods that replace traditional tests on rabbits and guinea pigs.

Organized through China’s Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, HSI and the IIVS’s training aims to help fill this knowledge gap, making the option to move away from animal testing a practical alternative. China’s consumer and science sectors have much to gain from such a transition – animal toxicity tests are some of the least scientifically credible methods still in use. Indeed, when you consider the scale of uncertainty associated with some of these approaches, it’s astonishing that in so many countries and across so many sectors we’re still gambling consumer safety on methods that were devised in the 1940s.

Read more about the program in this article by Troy Seidle (HSI).

HTPC members in the news Meetings & Events
SatelliteRoom

Enthusiastic turnout for CAAT/HTPC satellite meeting at SOT 2014

 

Getting exhausted participants to attend a satellite meeting at the end of the three-and-a-half-day ultra-marathon that is a Society of Toxicology annual meeting would seem to be a tough sell.  But nearly 80 turned out for the CAAT/HTPC meeting, “Updates on 21st Century Toxicology Activities and Related Efforts” in Phoenix, AZ.  Thomas Hartung (CAAT) welcomed attendees, and gave a brief history of this now-annual event, and outlined the afternoon’s agenda.  Updates on specific programs and activities were provided by David Dix (various EPA programs), Rusty Thomas (Toxcast), Alex Merrick (Tox21), Mel Anderson (The Hamner Institute’s efforts), Mark Cronin (SEURAT-1), Thomas Hartung (CAAT’s Human Toxome project), Kate Willett  (HTPC and HSUS activities), and Martin Stephens (CAAT’s Evidence-Based Toxicology Consortium activities).  At the end of the invited presentations, the floor was opened to questions, discussions, and brief updates on relevant projects or activities from those in attendance.  The enthusiastic turnout demonstrates that interest and participation in the 21st century “paradigm shift” in toxicology continues to grow.

Meetings & Events

Successful “AOPs 101″ ancillary workshop at SOT 2014

AOPs 101: the How and Why of Development and Use,” the ancillary program co-sponsored and organized by HTPC and ASCCT, was a perfect fit for this year’s SOT conference.  With an unprecedented number of Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP)-related sessions and symposia on the 2014 Scientific Program, the workshop’s aim to introduce AOP fundamentals to scientists not yet familiar with the concept was successful: the 60 or so attendees asked many insightful questions and were clearly appreciative in comments following the presentations.  Program presentations covering the fundamentals of AOP construction and potential applications, as well as summaries of three case studies of AOPs currently or recently under development, are available below:

Kristie Sullivan – What are AOPs?

Catherine Willett – Why are AOPs important, and how can they be useful?

Terry Schultz – AOPs: Getting Started

Nicole Kleinstreuer – Constructing AOPs for Developmental Toxicities

Grace Patlewicz – Development of an AOP for Skin Sensitization and Practical Applications (slides here)

Mathieu Vinkin – Development and Use of Hepatic AOPs in the SEURAT Project Cluster

AOPs Meetings & Events