Pre-proposal deadline: April 30, 2018 - maximum grant amount has been changed to $40,000.
CAAT’s research grants program (http://caat.jhsph.edu/programs/grants) is a centerpiece of our work, providing initial funding for scientists to develop alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical research and product safety testing. To date, the center has funded some 300 grants (including renewals) for a total of more than $6 million.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) is soliciting projects that focus on the implementation of the NAS Report: Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy in the following areas:
- Proposals Relating to Toxicology: Maximum grant amount is $40,000. The objective should be to significantly reduce or replace laboratory animals. Projects should be developed to provide mechanistic understanding of in vitro responses to toxicants in human cells. Consideration should be given to the translation of this new method to evaluate/predict health outcomes.
- Proposal Relating to Refinement: See Science-Based Animal Welfare Awards – funded separately.
Although relatively small individually, these grants offer critical seed money that allows researchers to demonstrate the value of a particular area of study so they can gain support from the NIH and other sources.
We have a stringent, peer-reviewed process for selecting the recipients of these grants. This process consists of sending each application to at least four experts in the field from academic, industrial, and government institutions. These reviewers evaluate the applications with regard to scientific merit, budget appropriateness, suitability to CAAT's mission, and expertise of the investigators. They also assign a priority score based on the scoring system used by the NIH.
At the CAAT annual advisory board meeting, these applications are reviewed by board members. Board members constitute the voting contingent for the grant applications and assign priority scores in a secret ballot format based upon a synopsis of the outside reviews and the board reviewers. The applications are then ranked in order of priority score and those that receive fundable scores are awarded funds based upon availability of money for the fiscal year.
We continue to monitor the long-term progress of the Research Grant Program by requiring our grant recipients to submit copies of publications resulting from the work supported by CAAT grant funds. We maintain a list of publications and an archive of journal reprints.
Registration is open for the fourth ICCVAM Communities of Practice webinar scheduled for January 23. The webinar topic is “Machine Learning in Toxicology: Fundamentals of Application and Interpretation.” NICEATM is organizing this webinar on behalf of ICCVAM.
This webinar will explore the fundamentals of machine learning approaches, including how they work, how they are interpreted, and precautions that should be taken when evaluating their output. Sean Ekins, Chief Executive Officer of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and NICEATM Deputy Director Nicole Kleinstreuer will address issues specific to machine learning approaches used in a regulatory context. Case studies will highlight where such techniques have been successfully applied both nationally and internationally.
The January 23 webinar will be held from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It is free and open to the public, although registration is required to attend.
A report of the February 2016 workshop, In Vitro to In Vivo Extrapolation for High Throughput Prioritization and Decision Making, and the preceding webinar series was published online December 5 by the journal Toxicology In Vitro. Toxicology In Vitro is making the workshop report publicly available to all readers, regardless of subscription status, through February 23. To read the article, go to https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WKoG39kyQjVLj.
The workshop report discusses activities and resources that promote inclusion of in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) in regulatory decision-making. It considers properties of models that successfully generate predictions of in vivo doses from effective in vitro concentration, areas of success, and areas for improvement to reduce model uncertainty. Finally, the report provides case studies on the uses of IVIVE in safety assessments.
Materials from the workshop, which was co-organized by NICEATM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, are available at https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/ivive-wksp-2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics recently added Veterinary Services (VS) Memorandum 800.116 Target Animal Safety Testing Exemption to its website. All VS Memoranda are available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/veterinary-biologics/biologics-regulations-and-guidance/ct_vb_vs_memos.
VS Memorandum No. 800.116, signed in August 2017, replaces an earlier version issued in July 2013. The memorandum provides guidance to licensed firms on requesting an exemption under title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (9 CFR), part 113.4, to target animal safety testing as required for testing of live and inactivated vaccines and antibody products. Such exemptions can reduce animal use in facilities that have documented consistency in manufacturing processes and product safety.
USDA Animal Care seeks your input on whether we should recognize inspections (and similar reviews) by third-party programs when determining the frequency of federal inspections for facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.
We would like your feedback. Beginning on January 18, 2018, we will host four in-person listening sessions and one virtual session. Any interested person may speak. A list of locations and dates for these sessions, along with instructions for registering, are located here. You will also find instructions for submitting written comments.
Our inspectors conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all Animal Welfare Act licensees and registrants. Various factors determine the inspection frequency for each entity – including a facility’s history of adhering to the federal regulations and standards. Some licensees and registrants already use a third-party program to support animal welfare at their facilities. We are interested in learning more about these programs, and hearing our regulated community’s and stakeholders’ views on how we might consider the use of these programs in our administration of the Animal Welfare Act.
“We are always looking for ways to serve our regulated community and direct our resources more effectively,” said Animal Care Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez. “Recognizing third-party inspections may be a good way to support compliance at facilities, while allowing us to devote more of our time to helping those licensees and registrants who need it most.”