US Government Medical Research Agency Announces Plans To Replace Animal Use In Toxicity Testing

Medical professionals have praised the move
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Scientists are looking at alternative testing methods

Scientists are looking at alternative testing methods

The National Institutes of Health has published a 'strategic roadmap' to reduce the number of animals used in toxicity testing.

16 federal agencies working in partnership developed the framework, which aims to provide more human-relevant toxicology data.

The roadmap was published by the National Toxicology Program [NTP], a federal interagency program headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences [NIEHS] in North Carolina. NIEHS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Animal use

The report - A Strategic Roadmap for Establishing New Approaches to Evaluate the Safety of Chemicals and Medical Products in the United States - was developed by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods [ICCVAM].

ICCVAM facilitates the development of toxicological testing methods that replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals.

The committee includes representatives from U.S. federal agencies that use, generate, or disseminate toxicological and safety testing information.

Many animals suffer in tests every year

Many animals suffer in tests every year

New approaches

Warren Casey, Ph.D., director of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, said: "This roadmap represents a coordinated effort by federal government agencies to proactively develop and adopt new approaches to toxicity testing, rather than having changes driven by external influences.

"If actionable progress in this area is going to happen, the agencies need to take the lead, and that is exactly what they are doing with this roadmap."

The roadmap was developed to guide the application of new technologies, such as high-throughput screening, tissue chips, and computational models, to toxicity testing of chemicals and medical products.

Protect

Scientists from the nonprofit Physicians Committee [PCRM] provided input that helped shape the roadmap.

Physicians Committee Vice President of Research Policy, Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H, said: "The National Institutes of Health’s new Roadmap provides a direct route to better protect millions of human and animal lives.

"It will help replace animal tests, which can fail to predict if a drug or chemical is harmful, with organs-on-chips and other human-relevant methods."