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CAAT Director Thomas Hartung Sees “Revolution” in Alternatives (Chemistry World)

Chemistry World
January 16, 2014
The Art of Alternatives

Recent years have seen great advances in alternatives to animal tests. Yet we still need to understand how and why compounds are toxic before we can make the giant leap to replacement, as Emma Davies reports ‘The pressure is building. At some point we will have an explosion and things will change.’ Thomas Hartung, director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at Johns Hopkins University in the US is not talking about a laboratory catastrophe, but about alternatives to animal testing.

Years of research into alternatives have so far yielded only 50 validated test methods, none of which can be used as a true replacement for animal tests. The validated methods are proof that change can take place, says Hartung. ‘But these methods are actually the low-hanging fruit · the acute and topical toxicities.’ Alternative systems do not exist to test for reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity or repeat-dose toxicity.

Now Hartung wants to see real action on a concerted testing approach, combining information from different tests, including in silico and in vitro, in an ‘intelligent’ or ‘integrated’ testing strategy (ITS). ‘People have been talking about [ITS] for 10 years, but actual progress has been very limited,’ he says.

See full article here.

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