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JRC contribution to EU research initiative on alternatives methods: outcome of the SEURAT-1 2nd Annual Meeting

News details
Feb 28, 2012

Lisbon, 8-9th February 2012

The 2nd annual meeting of the SEURAT-1 consortia, including 7 individual FP7 projects, took place in Lisbon on 8-9th February 2012.

SEURAT-1 is the largest EU research initiative ever on alternative methods to animal testing. Co-funded by the European Commission (Directorate General for Research and Innovation) and Cosmetics Europe, it works towards a fundamental change in the way we assess the safety of chemicals. SEURAT-1 aims at superseding traditional animal experiments with a predictive toxicology based on a comprehensive understanding of how chemicals can cause adverse effects in humans; this knowledge is used to develop complementary theoretical, computational and experimental (in vitro) models that predict quantitative points of departure needed for safety assessment.

The Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP) contributes considerably to SEURAT-1, being a partner in four out of the seven projects including COACH (the coordinating action).

The meeting was divided into three main sessions:

  • the Progress Session, including the reporting back from the individual projects after one year of activity;
  • a Scientific Focus Session with in depth discussions of four topics of cross-cluster interest;
  • an Outlook Session looking on approaches for safety assessment in the 21st century, with Mel Anderson (the Hamner Institutes) as invited key note speaker.

Maurice Whelan (JRC-IHCP, System Toxicology unit) presented the SEURAT-1 vision and strategy in the plenary session (download presentation below).

Several colleagues from JRC-IHCP actively contributed to the Scientific Focus Sessions, and Francesca Pistollato (JRC-IHCP, System Toxicology unit) got awarded for a best poster  - one of three presented by young scientists.

Core topics of cross-cluster importance that are critical in achieving the SEURAT-1 objectives were identified in the Scientific Focus Session. Four horizontal working groups will now follow-up these issues, taking full advantage of SEURAT-1 being a cluster initiative, and thus offering a scientifically broader and more valuable outcome compared to the results expected from the individual projects. The themes of the four working groups are:

  • Characterisation and standardisation of stem cells
  • Biokinetics necessary for in vitro to in vivo extrapolation
  • Mode of Action for repeated dose toxicity
  • Safety Assessment based on alternative methods.