Alternative testing methods - European research to replace and reduce animal tests, 23 June, Brussels

June 18, 2004

Brussels, 17 Jun 2004

Brussels, 23 June 2004

WHO? Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research, European Commission

  • In the presence of H.R.H. Prince Laurent of Belgium, President of the Prince Laurent Foundation for Animal Welfare

  • Joan-Albert Vericat (ES), Director Preclinical Development, NeuroPharma S.A. Tres Cantos (Madrid); Representative of IVTIP (In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform)

  • Dr. Thomas Hartung (DE, EU), Joint Research Centre, European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Ispra (Italy)

  • Dr. Rita Georgette Cortvrindt (BE), EggCentris nv, Zellik (Brussels)

  • Dr. Paul Dierickx (BE), Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH), Brussels

WHAT? On-site media briefing on "EU research for alternative testing methods to replace and reduce animal tests"

WHEN? 23 June 2004, 14:30-18:00

WHERE? Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH)
Rue Wytsmanstraat 14, B-1050 Brussels

The media briefing on alternative testing methods will demonstrate how ongoing European research, funded through the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6, 2002-2006), contributes to the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal tests. Advances in bio-medical research for new treatments and drugs, the European Union's new chemicals policy (REACH 1) and the testing requirements of the amended cosmetics directive will be discussed at the briefing. The newly developed alternative test methods supported by the EU represent a substantial contribution to the three Rs of reduction, refinement and replacement of animal experimentation and testing, guaranteeing at the same time the highest safety standards for consumers and patients, respect for the environment and animal welfare.

The on-site media briefing at the Scientific Institute of Public Health, project partner in EU funded research projects, will give journalists the opportunity to visit laboratories and learn about two new EU research projects to develop alternative testing methods (see Annex). Interview opportunities with key personalities in European alternative test research, as well as the Research Commissioner will be possible. The languages used during the media briefing will be English and French.

The briefing only addresses research and development of novel non-animal test methods.

MEDIA PROGRAMME – 23 June 2004

Location: IPH, Rue Wytsmanstraat 14, 1050 Brussels)

14:15 Bus shuttle leaving from main European Commission Building
(BREYDEL, Avenue d'Auderghem 45, 1040 Brussels; near metro station "Schuman")

14:30 Welcome coffee (and sandwiches) for journalists

14:50 Introduction to laboratory visits for journalists
Dr. Paul Dierickx, IPH

15:00 Visit to Laboratory for Biochemical Toxicology, IPH

16:00 • European Research for the development of alternative testing methods
Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research, European Commission

  • European research for in vitro testing methods: the view and role of an industrial platform
    Joan-Albert Vericat1, 2 (ES), Director Preclinical Development, NeuroPharma S.A. Tres Cantos (Madrid) and Representative of IVTIP (In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform)
  • Development and validation projects for alternatives in a new dimension - ECVAM's response to the challenge of chemicals and cosmetics legislation
    Dr. Thomas Hartung1, 2, European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM, JRC) Ispra (Italy)
  • Alternative in vitro testings for human reproductive health"
    Dr. Rita Georgette Cortvrindt1, EggCentris nv, Zellik (Brussels)
  • In vitro toxicity assays for the prediction of acute human toxicity
    Dr. Paul Dierickx2, Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH), Brussels

In the presence of H.R.H. Prince Laurent of Belgium,
President of Prince Laurent Foundation for Animal Welfare

16:50 Discussion (Question time for journalists)

17:20 Reception & Interview opportunities

18:00 Bus shuttle leaving for airport and for BREYDEL building and press centre

1 project partner in EU project ReProTect (FP6, 1st call LifeSciHealth)

2 project partner in EU project A-Cute-Tox (FP6, 2nd call LifeSciHealth)

Further information:

For the thematic priority on life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health in the EU Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6) see also: http://www.cordis.lu/lifescihealth/home. html.

The location of the Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH) can be found via these descriptions: http://www.iph.fgov.be/route.asp?Lang=EN .

In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform (IVTIP) http:///www.ivtip.org

Prince Laurent Foundation for the welfare of domestic and wild animals: http:///www.fondation-prince-laurent.be

European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra (Italy) http:///ecvam.jrc.it/index.htm

1 Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) – Proposal of the European Commission from 29 Oct. 2003, COM (2003) 644.

Contacts


Beatrice Lucaroni, Scientific officer
Unit Biotechnology and Applied Genomics, DG Research, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.296 22 29
E-mail: beatrice.lucaroni @ cec.eu.int


Michael H. Wappelhorst, Press and information officer
Information and communication Unit, Research DG, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.298 75 75, Fax: +32.2.295 82 20
E-Mail: Michael.Wappelhorst @ cec.eu.int


Fabio Fabbi, Spokesman for Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin
Press DG, European Commission
Tel. +32.2.296 41 74, Fax +32.2.296 30 03
E-mail Fabio.Fabbi @ cec.eu.int.

For the media relations the European Commission is assisted by an external contractor:


Michelle Roverelli, Hill & Knowlton
Tel: +32.2.741 62 13; Fax: +32.2.737 95 52
E-mail: mroverel @ hillandknowlton.com

Annex: Selected European alternative testing research projects

Development of a novel approach in hazard and risk assessment or reproductive toxicity by a combination and application of in vitro, tissue and sensor technologies (ReProTect)
(FP6, 1st call LifeSciHealth)

Budget: EUR 13.9 million, EU contribution: EUR approx. 9.1 million, Duration: 5 years

Coordinator: University of Tuebingen, DE (Contact: Dr. M. Schwarz, michael.schwarz@uni- tuebingen.de)

The Integrated Project ReProTect will develop the concepts required to compose testing strategies via the continuous implementation of novel in vitro and in silico (sensor) alternatives. Problems to be solved include the development of a substantial number of alternative test methods making use of advanced technologies.

The project is composed of four elements, i.e. (i) technological development of in vitro and (ii) sensor technologies, (iii) strategic development of a conceptual framework, (iv) dissemination and implementation of activities.

Studies in reproductive toxicity within ReProTect will enable to:

  • - substantially reduce the number of animals that are currently required in in vivo assays;
  • - brake down the reproductive system into well-defined sub-elements that adequately cover the reproductive cycle;
  • - advantageously use a number of pioneering alternatives that have already been developed;
  • - carry out the same animal experiments for drugs, chemicals and cosmetics

In the project, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) takes the lead to manage the validation of a conceptual framework in the area of reproductive toxicity. The involvement of all stakeholders in the Project Board including the European Consensus Platform on Alternatives (ECOPA), European regulators, OECD, and Industry guarantees an efficient problem solving approach.

Countries involved: AT, BE, BG, CH, DE, DK, FR, IT, NL, SE, UK.
project partners present at 23 June media briefing:

  • - ECVAM (EU/IT)
  • - EggCentris (BE)
  • - IVTIP (pan-EU)

Optimisation and pre-validation of an in vitro test strategy for predicting human acute toxicity (A-Cute-Tox)
(FP6, 2nd call LifeSciHealth) - shortlisted for funding -

Budget: EUR 15.65 million, EU contribution: approx. EUR 9 million; Duration: 5 years

Coordinator: University of Oulu, FIN (Contact: Dr. Leila Risteli, leila.risteli@oulu.fi)

Validated alternative test methods are urgently required for safety toxicology of drugs, chemicals and cosmetics. Both, the EU's new chemicals policy (REACH) and the 7th amendment of the cosmetics directive call for the broad replacement of animal experiments for a short-term period. The aim of the Integrated Project, A-Cule-Tox, is to develop a simple and robust in vitro testing strategy for prediction of human acute systemic toxicity, which could replace the animal acute toxicity tests used today for regulatory purposes. The scientific objectives of the project are to:

  • - Compile critically evaluate and generate high quality in vitro and in vivo data for comparative analysis.
  • - Identify factors that influence the correlation between in vitro toxicity (concentration) and in vivo toxicity (dosage), and define an algorithm that accounts for this.
  • - Explore innovative tools and cellular systems to identify new end-points and strategies to better anticipate animal and human toxicity.
  • - Design a simple, robust and reliable in vitro test strategy amenable for robotic testing, associated with the prediction model for acute toxicity.

The project will develop the concepts required to compose testing strategies via the continuous implementation of novel in vitro and in silico alternatives.

Countries involved: BE, CH, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, , IT, NL, PL, SE, UK.
project partners present at 23 June media briefing:

  • - IPH (BE)
  • - ECVAM (EU/IT)
  • - NeuroPharma (ES)

Further information and to attend

DG Research
http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/research/i ndex_en.html
Item source: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/press /2004/pr1706en.cfm

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