EU-U.S. Collaboration to Work Toward More Efficient Chemical Safety Assessments

Published October 5, 2016

Representatives from the EU-ToxRisk project and the U.S. Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) initiative recently announced their intent to collaborate on efforts to reduce the use of animals in toxicological assessments and achieve more efficient chemical safety assessments. A joint press release (PDF) issued by the two projects states that the collaboration stemmed from a workshop on risk assessment that was held in Germany in mid-September.

According to the press release, EU-ToxRisk and Tox21 researchers have agreed to work together to develop practices of cross-consortium data sharing; develop core methodology in read-across and the application of high-throughput transcriptomics for safety assessment; create synergies across overlapping chemical subsets; use ongoing developments of in vitro tissue models and computer-based predictions of drug concentrations for risk assessment; and develop joint case studies focused on innovations in the application of alternative approaches.

“This collaboration will help to strengthen communication between both sides with the objective to foster synergies to accelerate the shift in toxicology toward a new mechanism-based chemical safety testing strategy,” said Andy White of Unilever, who chaired the workshop. “On both sides of the Atlantic, there is a drive to enhance scientific capabilities to improve safety assessment approaches based on alternatives to animal testing.”

Tox21 is a federal research collaboration among EPA, NIH, and FDA. According to EPA, Tox21 researchers “aim to develop better toxicity assessment methods to quickly and efficiently test whether certain chemical compounds have the potential to disrupt processes in the human body that may lead to negative health effects.”

EU-ToxRisk, an Integrated European “Flagship” Program Driving Mechanism-based Toxicity Testing and Risk Assessment for the 21st Century, seeks to shift toxicological testing “away from animal testing toward a toxicological assessment based on human cell responses and a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of cause-consequence relationships of chemical adverse effects.”