The Transatlantic Think-Tank of Toxicology: t4
In June 2007, the National Academy of Science (NAS) released its report, Toxicity Testing and Assessment in the Twenty-first Century: A Vision and a Strategy. This report advocates sweeping and transformative changes in regulatory toxicity testing, and is a reflection of CAAT’s ideas, as it envisages a shift from current whole-animal based systems to testing founded primarily on in vitro methods, human cells in culture, in silico biokinetic modeling, and mechanisms of toxicity as understood through systems biology. Toxicity Testing and Assessment in the Twenty-first Century is essentially a roadmap for the future, representing a shift in the current testing paradigm by advocating the utilization of high-throughput, in vitro test methods and in silico modeling techniques that focus on human rather than animal biology.
On February 14, 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Toxicity Program (NTP), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop and implement new high-throughput, in vitro methods for testing chemicals and drugs. Based on the recommendations of the NAS report, this MOU will allow the collection of data requested in the NAS report. This significant step toward US development of alternative methodologies reflects both the best science and the most humane science.
To help implement the recommendations of the NAS report as quickly as possible, the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation (DZF) and CAAT are collaborating to establish the Transatlantic Think Tank of Toxicology, or t4. The t4 includes leaders in the field of evidence-based toxicology and alternatives from the University of Konstanz (Prof. Marcel Leist) and Utrecht University (Prof. Bas Blaauboer), as well Drs. Hartung and Goldberg from Johns Hopkins University. These four “ambassadors” of t4 will prepare and or commission high-quality analyses of toxicological problems and orchestrate a series of workshops, reports, and review papers designed to bring to fruition the innovative approaches outlined in the NAS report. The first t4 report, Re-evaluation of Animal Numbers and Costs for In Vivo Tests to Accomplish REACH Legislation Requirements for Chemicals, was released in August, 2009. A complete list of t4 publications can be found in ALTEX.