|On October 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested public comment on draft guidance that would allow researchers to forego testing chemicals on animal skin in certain circumstances. Based on a retrospective analysis conducted by EPA, which concluded that such studies provide little to no added value in regulatory decision-making, the proposed guidance would allow waivers for studies on single active ingredients used in pesticides. This guidance, when finalized, is expected to save up to 750 test animals annually from unnecessary testing, as well as EPA, industry, and laboratory resources. A news release announcing the release of the draft guidance is available at https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-guidance-waive-toxicity-tests-animal-skin.
A webpage summarizing EPA’s strategic vision for adopting new approach methodologies (NAMs) is available at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/strategic-vision-adopting-new-approach-methodologies. Three webpages linked from this page have details of EPA activities in this area.
July 24, NICEATM released an update of the Integrated Chemical Environment (ICE). ICE provides data and tools to help develop, assess, and interpret chemical safety tests. This update adds the following features to these ICE tools:
- Search: query results can now be sent directly to the EPA CompTox Chemicals Dashboard.
- In Vitro to In Vivo Extrapolation (IVIVE): assays can be selected based on mode of action; results can be filtered by mode of action or toxicity endpoint annotation.
- Chemical Characterization: principal component analysis plots provide an additional option for visualization of chemical properties.
Other new resources in ICE 3.1 include:
- New Chemical Quick Lists: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List of Active Ingredients and EPA List of Inert Ingredients Food and Nonfood Use.
- Additional metadata provided in results downloads.
- New tooltips and information buttons to help users set up queries.
ICE is available at https://ice.ntp.niehs.nih.gov/.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the 2020 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Omnibus Grant Solicitations. These solicitations will be used by the National Institutes of Health and other offices within HHS to fund researcher-initiated projects in health, medicine, and life sciences.
Projects being funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) under this solicitation include development of toxicity screening, testing, and modeling approaches that support Tox21 and other NTP goals. Areas of high priority include development of:
- Metabolically competent in vitro assay systems for various tissue types.
- Computational approaches for predictive toxicology.
The first deadline for applications under this announcement is September 5. More information is available on the NICEATM website at https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/alt-funding.
NIEHS has also reissued the Funding Opportunity Announcement for its Commercialization Readiness Pilot program. These grants support commercialization of previously funded SBIR and STTR Phase II and Phase IIB projects by funding activities not typically supported through Phase II or Phase IIB grants or contracts. Small businesses that have had an active National Institutes of Health SBIR or STTR Phase II or Phase IIB award within the last 36 months are eligible to apply. Awardees will receive up to $300,000. Standard SBIR/STTR application deadlines apply for these grants; the next deadline is September 5. More information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-20-128.html.
A new report presents the findings of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study to evaluate the use of dogs in biomedical research. Conducted at the request of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the study assessed whether laboratory dogs are or will continue to be necessary for biomedical research related to the VA’s mission. Former NICEATM Director Warren Casey is a coauthor of the report. It is available at https://www.nap.edu/read/25772/chapter/1.
The report concludes that using laboratory dogs in research at the VA is scientifically necessary for only a few areas of current biomedical research. The report recommends that the VA adopt an expanded set of criteria for determining when it is scientifically necessary to use laboratory dogs in VA biomedical research and promote the development and use of alternatives to laboratory dogs. It also highlights opportunities for the VA to enhance the welfare of laboratory dogs that are being used in necessary biomedical research areas.
Earn 9 RACE credits by attending the 3Rs Symposium! Are you a veterinary medical professional struggling to find RACE credits during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The 7th Annual 3Rs Symposium: Practical Solutions and Success Stories, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternative to Animal Testing (JHU CAAT), NIH OLAW, and USDA AWIC has been approved to offer 9 American Association of Veterinary State Boards RACE credits for the event! The virtual symposium takes place next week, June 4 – 5, so learn more and register here soon!