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Can new approach methods pave the way for better toxicology?

The new approach methods are being developed to make the use of chemicals safer and to reduce the need for animal testing. Their use will be discussed at ECHA’s topical scientific workshop on 19-20 April.

New approach methods are on the agenda of toxicological research worldwide. They include a variety of new testing tools, such as “high-throughput screening” and “high-content methods”, like genomics, proteomics or metabolomics. Their aim is to improve the understanding of the toxic effects of chemicals. They can also help to address frequently occurring knowledge gaps when assessing the hazards of chemicals while not relying on animal testing.

ECHA’s topical scientific workshops foster discussion among academia, regulators, industry and other stakeholders on the possible regulatory impacts of the latest scientific developments.  This workshop will promote the use of new approach methods for assessing long-term toxicological effects of chemical substances for regulatory purposes. Specifically, it will explore how data from new approach methods can support read-across justifications and how it can be used for the screening and prioritisation of substances for regulatory action.

Geert Dancet, ECHA’s Executive Director, says: “ECHA promotes alternatives to animal testing by exploring the use of new approach methods for regulatory purposes. To that effect, we cooperate actively with key research institutions and regulators worldwide.”

The workshop programme and relevant case studies have been developed together with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, EU research programmes SEURAT-1 (safety evaluation ultimately replacing animal testing) and EU-ToxRisk, and other international partners. Dr Draghia-Akli, Director of the Health Directorate, Research DG of the European Commission, highlights the importance of international cooperation: “As a flagship EU initiative, EU-ToxRisk will be an international driver in innovative approaches for better human safety assessment, and is also expected to deliver practical solutions suitable to regulatory needs.”