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Meeting of the European Union Network of Laboratories for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EU-NETVAL)

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Dec 01, 2015
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Sharing practical expertise and knowledge on in vitro methods

On the 26-27 November 2015, members of the European Union Network of Laboratories for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EU-NETVAL) attended a two-day meeting hosted by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

Representatives from test facilities which are supporting EURL ECVAM in various aspects of validation of in vitro methods discussed the progress of ongoing validation studies and relevant developments in the area of alternative methods. The members also engaged in a workshop on Good In vitro Method Practice (GIVIMP), focusing on aspects such as solubility assessment of chemical test items, how to structure and describe Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and to optimally report results generated from (GLP) studies using in vitro methods. The valuable ideas and input derived from EU-NETVAL members will be channelled into the guidance document currently being developed by EURL ECVAM within the context of an EU (EURL ECVAM) led project at the OECD. The purpose of this guidance is to contribute to increased standardisation, harmonisation and overall quality of in vitro studies that inform test item safety assessment in a regulatory context.

Time was also dedicated to analysing the specific competences of the members and their potential training needs with a view to identifying practical opportunities to share knowhow throughout the network, particularly on the implementation of OECD Test Guidelines and novel in vitro methods. In addition, the European Commission's Directorate General for Environment presented the Commission's Communication responding to the European Citizens' Initiative "Stop Vivisection" and proposed how this highly competent network can contribute by sharing its extensive knowledge on the practical deployment of in vitro methods used for chemical safety assessment.  

EU-NETVAL was set up in 2013 to provide support for EURL ECVAM validation studies on alternative methods that have a potential to replace, reduce or refine the use of animals for scientific purposes. Currently, EU-NETVAL comprises 26 laboratories from EU Member States and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. A recent EU-NETVAL call (now closed) aims to expand the network further by including facilities from countries not yet represented, and facilities with particular competence not covered by existing members.