Gain hands-on experience with the AOP wiki at SOT’s annual meeting

Headed to the Society of Toxicology’s upcoming meeting in San Antonio? The Human Toxicology Project Consortium and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine invite you to deepen your understanding of the AOP Wiki and gain experience entering an Adverse Outcome Pathway in a structured, hands-on seminar Tuesday evening.

Version 2.2 of the AOP Wiki was released in January 2018.  This seminar will be ideal for those wishing to gain some hands-on experience with the new version as well as those who are new to the AOP concept. We will also present an available online course on AOPs, and course attendees will work through a case example in small groups.

What: Hands-On Seminar: Creating an Adverse Outcome Pathway in the AOP Wiki
Where: Grand Hyatt, Rooms Bowie A – B, 600 E Market Street, San Antonio
When: Tuesday, March 13, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Registration: Please register in advance by contacting Kristie Sullivan at Registration is appreciated, but not required. Please indicate whether you will bring a laptop.


5:00 – 5:20  Introduction to AOP concepts and online course
Catherine Willett, HTPC; Kristie Sullivan, PCRM

5:20 – 5:40  Creating and Using an AOP
Brigitte Landesmann, European Commission Joint Research Centre

5:40 – 6:00  Evaluating AOP Evidence
Bette Meek, University of Ottowa

6:00 – 7:00 AOP Wiki demonstration and hands-on activity
Dan Villeneuve, US EPA, with assistance from Kristie Sullivan, PCRM

AOP tutorials AOPs

World first as UK researchers infect artificial liver with Hepatitis B virus

Excerpted from The Engineer:

Researchers at Imperial College London have become the first in the world to test how pathogens interact with artificial human organs, so called organ-on-chip technologies. The group claims that the pioneering tests pave the way for an improved understanding and of a range of diseases enabling the development of new treatments. Keep reading »


HTPC/HSUS Awarded International Lush Prize in Recognition of Efforts to End Animal Testing

We’re proud to announce that we are the recipients of the prestigious Lush Prize award for training in recognition of our efforts to replace animal testing with alternatives.

The prize was awarded to the Human Toxicology Project Consortium (HTPC), in recognition of a training program we developed that helps scientists apply alternative methods. Lush created a video explaining the project.

The HTPC is a coalition of corporate and non-profit organizations, founded and coordinated by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that promotes the development & implementation of non-animal science to improve chemical safety tests. As part of our training program, earlier this year we created a course to promote the concept and application of Adverse Outcome Pathways, or AOPs. An AOP is a flexible framework that describes the events that occur following chemical exposure. The course trains scientists to use a software package that allows them to organize and combine biological information. When organized this way, the information helps scientists predict what will happen after chemical exposure, as an alternative to testing that chemical on animals. The course was developed by the HTPC and etioLogic Consulting Services, in collaboration with an international group of scientists, and has been incorporated into the training materials of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Dr. Catherine Willett, Director of Regulatory Toxicology, Risk Assessment and Alternatives for The HSUS will accept the award at a ceremony in London this evening.

Lush Prize is a joint project between Lush Cosmetics and the Ethical Consumer Research Association (ECRA) and was founded in 2012 as a way of supporting initiatives to replace the use of animals in research. Prizes are awarded annually in Lobbying, Public Awareness, Science, Training, and Young Researchers, and each winner is awarded £50,000 (around $65,000). This year, more than 66 entries from 29 countries were submitted.

The prize money we receive will be used to continue our work to advance non-animal methods in research and testing.


Strategic plans reveal U.S. agencies’ commitment to adopting non-animal alternative approaches to toxicity testing

A recent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) was an opportunity for the committee and the public to learn more about the strategic roadmap developed by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM). Composed of representatives from 16 federal agencies that require the use of animals for toxicity testing, ICCVAM was established by Congress to facilitate the regulatory acceptance of new test methods that reduce, refine, or replace animal tests. SACATM provides input on ICCVAM priorities and activities and is comprised of representatives from industry, academia, and animal protection organizations.

During the September 18-19 SACATM meeting in Bethesda, MD, presentations and discussions examined ICCVAM’s important role in facilitating the development and use of non-animal test methods and how, through implementation of the strategic roadmap, ICCVAM could better accomplish this legislated purpose. Both presenters and participants generally agreed about a few key points:

  • There is a need for stakeholder engagement in all stages of the alternative test development and implementation process. This will ensure that new methods that are developed will meet the needs of the regulators and be used by industry.
  • Agencies must provide clear communication about their safety information needs and acceptance of new methods to inform decision making about alternative method development and encourage use of new non-animal methods.
  • Efforts must be made to establish confidence in and understanding of new alternative methods.

During the SACATM meeting, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affirmed that the agency is progressing in its plans to promote the use of alternatives to animal testing in compliance with the Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) that was signed into law on June 22, 2016. LCSA updated a 40-year-old federal law regulating industrial chemicals and introduces, for the first time ever in U.S. law, provisions to minimize animal testing and prioritize the development and use of non-animal test methods.

Under LCSA, EPA was tasked with creating a strategic plan within two years of the law’s enactment to “promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing…”

Dr. Louis Scarano from EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics outlined the agency’s draft goals for its strategic plan including:

  1. Reducing and replacing vertebrate animal testing;
  2. Using integrated approaches to testing and assessment (IATA) as the principle method for alternative development;
  3. Collaborating with stakeholders to develop and implement alternative methods; and
  4. Inspiring industry and regulators to develop alternative methods that create confidence.

While it is clear that LCSA will significantly increase toxicity testing of industrial chemicals, the EPA’s strategic plan will be an important guidepost for ensuring that any additional test requirements will be mitigated by efforts to actively ensure the immediate reduction and ultimate replacement of animal testing with new alternative methods. If done right, this plan will also ensure that alternatives continue to be developed that can replace animal use for additional EPA information needs.

ICCVAM’s final strategic roadmap will be unveiled during an upcoming meeting in November and a first draft of EPA’s strategic plan is expected to be released in April 2018. We look forward to providing comments about these plans and working with the agencies to ensure their successful implementation.

Read more about the SACATM meeting in this National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) article by Catherine Sprankle.