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SEURAT-1 Annual Meeting (5-6 Feb 2014): alternative methods for repeated dose systemic toxicity testing of chemicals

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Jan 30, 2014
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Major scientific achievements and new challenges

The 4th Annual Meeting of the SEURAT-1 initiative will take place from 5 to 6 February 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.

A draft agenda of the event is available on the SEURAT-1 web site.

The goal of SEURAT-1 ("Towards the replacement of in vivo repeated dose systemic toxicity testing") is the development of a concept and corresponding long-term research strategy for future research and development work leading to pathway based human safety assessments in the field of repeated dose systemic toxicity testing of chemicals.

A five-years public-private partnership equally funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme and Cosmetics Europe, SEURAT-1 is a cluster of five research projects (COSMOS, Scr&Tox, DETECTIVE, HeMiBio and NoTox), a central data analysis service (ToxBank) and a coordination action (COACH). The European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP) is heavily involved in three of the five complementary research projects, and is also at the centre of the coordination efforts of the entire cluster.

As highlighted during last year's Annual Meeting (Lisbon, March 2013), thanks to this unprecedented research initiative the goal of the '3Rs' in society has been developing from primarily focus on protecting laboratory animals into an additional ambition of improving human safety assessment.

SEURAT-1 has now successfully passed the first half of its duration; further collaboration has been achieved, identifying potentially redundant overlaps and transforming them into complementarities, based on common cluster objectives. During this meeting, the cluster projects will present their major scientific achievements.

SEURAT-1 partners are now undertaking a cross-cluster proof-of-concept exercise to demonstrate how a mode-of-action based testing strategy can be used to predict aspects of repeated dose target organ toxicity. Main focus of this event will be discussions focused on the concrete research issues related to the SEURAT-1 Case studies at three levels, corresponding to the concepts to be proven:

  • At the theoretical level, proof-of-concept aims to show how toxicological knowledge concerning mode-of-action can be mined or perhaps generated, and then reconciled, consolidated and explicitly described in a format that can be managed and communicated in an effective and harmonised manner.

  •  At the systems level, the intention is to demonstrate how test systems can be produced by integrating various in vitro and in silico tools emanating from the projects, in order to assess the toxicological properties of chemicals using mode-of-action as an analytical basis.

  • At the highest level, proof-of-concept will address the desire to show how the data and information derived from the tools and methods developed within the cluster can actually be used in specific safety assessment frameworks and scenarios.

A synthesis report will be made available on this web site soon after the event.

See also:

 

Background

Within the SEURAT-1 cluster, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute of Health and Consumer Protection (JRC-IHCP) is heavily involved in three of the five complementary research projects, contributing to advancing science in a number of key areas, including: development and standardisation of reliable stem cell differentiation protocols; computational prediction tools for determining the fate of a chemical within the body after exposure, and for modelling the reaction of cells to a toxic insult; discovery of new biomarkers at the molecular and cellular level for detecting early toxicological events; high throughput robotic testing to generate high quality datasets using novel in vitro assays; selection of reference chemicals with known toxicological profiles for use in test system development and evaluation; and extension of TTC (Thresholds of Toxicological Concern) safety assessment frameworks to include cosmetic ingredients.
The JRC-IHCP is also at the centre of the coordination efforts of the entire cluster, exploiting its considerable experience in the alternatives area to help formulate and implement the SEURAT-1 research strategy, and to facilitate synergies between projects and partners to maximise the impact of collective effort.