Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation path

First SEURAT-1 Stakeholder Event showcases latest success stories in non-animal methods for safety assessment of chemicals

News details
Sep 09, 2013
Contact:

Microfluidic bioreactors (so called "organ on a chip") for long-term cultivation and analysis of human cells, toxicity assays based on human stem cells produced by reprogramming adult cells, and computational models for predicting safety thresholds

SEURAT-1 Stakeholder Event, which took place on 5th September in Brussels, showcased the latest achievements of the largest ever EU research initiative to develop non-animal methods for the safety assessment of chemicals. Launched in 2011 with over 70 European research partners, SEURAT-1 (Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing) is a 50 million public-private research partnership equally co-funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (through its FP7 HEALTH research programme) and Cosmetics Europe, the industry personal care association.

During the event, the SEURAT-1 consortium presented the successes reached midway through its five-years programme to the stakeholders of this research work: policy makers, regulators, animal welfare groups and the industry. The speakers explained in a practical and accessible manner how the newly gained knowledge is being translated into solutions for safety assessment. Highlights included microfluidic bioreactors (so called "organ on a chip") for long-term cultivation and analysis of human cells, toxicity assays based on human stem cells produced by reprogramming adult cells, and computational models for predicting safety thresholds.

This robot is able to produce billions of cells derived from reprogrammed human cells ; a capacity of producing such cells in large quantities is a prerequisite for animal free human safety assessment solutions. Source: I-stem (Inserm U861).The lively discussion that followed underlined: 

  • the strong interest of the industry in this research work and its willingness to further invest in R & D, enabling ultimately to take up and deploy the new safety assessment solutions in various industry sectors (pharma, cosmetics, food, …);
  • the need to inform and involve the regulators on a much larger scale to make them aware of the coming changes in the field of alternative human safety assessment methods;
  • the willingness of other private and public research initiatives in this field to cooperate and exchange knowledge, avoiding the duplication of effort and supporting faster progress;
  • the impact of the revolutionary concepts promoted by SEURAT-1, not only on safety assessment, but also for protection of human health in general, e.g. by prevention of diseases triggered by environmental conditions;
  • the need for a global research strategy allowing to identify the next steps of the long term research and innovation effort.

prototype of microfluidic bioreactorSEURAT-1 has developed such a global research strategy and published it in its Annual Reports, the volume 3 of which was presented during the event. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the research programme; it also includes articles from international experts on the state-of-play in regulatory safety assessment and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead:

The event was partnered by the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA), which ensured broad dissemination through its extensive member-network.

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternative to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM), an integral part of the Systems Toxicology Unit of the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), is heavily involved in the SEURAT-1 initiative, which reflects its mandate under the Directive 2010/63/EU for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes: to help in guiding the development of alternative methods and ensuring that research results are translated into solutions fit for regulatory use.

The event agenda is available for download below. 

For more details, please check the Flash Report published today on the SEURAT-1 web site.

 

Images:

a) The SEURAT-1 stakeholder event attracted 50 participants representing the industry, policy makers, regulators, and animal welfare groups. Source: Sara Vinklatova, COACH

b) This robot is able to produce billions of cells derived from reprogrammed human cells ; a capacity of producing such cells in large quantities is a prerequisite for animal free human safety assessment solutions. Source: I-stem (Inserm U861).

c) Prototype of a microfluidic bioreactor used for “organ-on-a-chip” culture. A few square cm suffice to simulate a human liver which is then used to study a test compounds’ toxicity. Courtesy of Dr. Yaakov Nahmias, HeMiBio project within Seurat-1.