Tox News: Issue 2, February 2017


Tox Team member elected as SPS Secretary

Dr Helen Prior, NC3Rs Programme Manager for Drug Development, has commenced a two-year position as Secretary for the Safety Pharmacology Society (SPS).

The SPS is a non-profit organisation that promotes knowledge, development, application, and training in safety pharmacology. Helen is an active member of the society and is well-known through her 18-year experience in this field prior to joining the NC3Rs.

The NC3Rs has a number of projects and collaborations with the SPS (such as the Animal Model Framework) and are co-hosts for their 2017 European regional meeting (see the ‘Events’ section below).



New survey on social housing during telemetry

In 2015, the NC3Rs - in collaboration with the SPS - conducted a workshop and survey into housing practices during cardiovascular recordings in safety pharmacology and toxicology studies using non-rodents.

A short follow-up survey can be accessed here. This aims to gather information on the implementation of the previously recommended social housing refinements and also to identify remaining barriers.



Opportunities to meet members of the NC3Rs toxicology team and find out more about our work at conferences and events over the upcoming months.
Find a full list of NC3Rs events on our website calendar.


Society of Toxicology 56th Annual Meeting

At the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, we will have a stand within the ToxExpo (booth 720). We are also hosting an exhibitor session entitled ‘Global Initiatives for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction in Animal Use within Toxicology Programs’ which will take place on Monday 13 March, 3-4pm.

This session will highlight opportunities for reductions or refinements in animal use, within (bio)pharmaceutical toxicology packages. It will bring together scientists and regulators from NC3Rs-led, international consortia to discuss initiatives investigating future efficiencies in study designs and promote best practice regarding recovery animals, microsampling and the use of a second species in regulatory toxicology studies.

A poster on the CRACK IT Challenge QSARS Mix will be presented on Thursday 16 March (8.30-11.45am; poster number P365). Dr Natalie Burden is also a co-author on a poster entitled ‘Strategic toxicity testing approaches for agrochemicals incorporating '3R' principles of animal welfare and enabling global harmonization’ in collaboration with scientists from two regulatory bodies, one CRO and four agrochemical companies (poster number P464, Thursday 16 March, 8.30-11.45am).



British Toxicology Society Annual Congress

3 - 5 April: LIVERPOOL, UK
The BTS Annual Congress 2017 programme has a strong speaker line-up this year which hopes to attract in excess of 200 delegates within the field of toxicology.

We are sponsoring and co-chairing a session with the BTS Discovery Toxicology Speciality Section on Tuesday 4 April in Symposium 4: ‘Complex in vitro models (and other non-animal approaches) to drive exposure-based risk assessment’.



Human Tissue for Safety Assessment workshop

We are co-hosting this one-day SPS 2017 European regional meeting which aims to bring together researchers from academia, SMEs and the pharmaceutical industry to discuss how best to support and enable the use of human tissue in safety testing.

The workshop is part of a wider NC3Rs initiative to improve the predictive capacity and relevance of research models to human safety testing, and to implement human tissue as a replacement for animal models (see ‘Funding information’ section below).

Registration is now open, and closes on 14 April.


A list of all NC3Rs publications in Toxicology and Regulatory Sciences can be found in our bibliography. New publications authored by NC3Rs staff include:


Alternative approaches to vertebrate ecotoxicity tests in the 21st century: A review of developments over the last 2 decades and current status

A Focus article authored by the SETAC Animal Alternatives Interest Group steering committee discussing the current status of animal alternatives in environmental sciences.


  • Lillicrap A, Belanger S, Burden N, Pasquier DD, Embry MR, Halder M, Lampi MA, Lee L, Norberg-King T, Rattner BA, Schirmer K, Thomas P (2016). Alternative approaches to vertebrate ecotoxicity tests in the 21st century: A review of developments over the last 2 decades and current status. Environ Toxicol Chem. 35(11):2637-2646. doi: 10.1002/etc.3603.




Reducing the number of fish in regulatory bioconcentration testing: Identifying and overcoming the barriers to using the 1-concentration approach

A Learned Discourse article reporting the results of a survey we recently conducted to assess the barriers to applying the one concentration approach in fish bioconcentration studies.


  • Burden N, Maynard SK, Weltje L, Wheeler JR, Doyle I, Clook M (2017). Reducing the number of fish in regulatory bioconcentration testing: Identifying and overcoming the barriers to using the 1-concentration approach. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13(1):212-214. doi: 10.1002/ieam.1851




Opportunities to apply the 3Rs in safety assessment programs

An invited review article co-authored by the NC3Rs and AstraZeneca, which summarises NC3Rs and other 3Rs activities across the pharmaceutical development package, highlighting opportunities to improve safety assessment and reduce animal use.


  • Sewell F, Edwards J, Prior H, and Robinson S (2016). Opportunities to apply the 3Rs in safety assessment programs. ILAR J. Dec;57(2):234-245. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilw024




CRACK IT Solutions is a technology partnering hub which showcases new technologies from academia and SMEs and promotes their uptake by the wider scientific community. The scheme aims to accelerate the translation of technologies with 3Rs potential ('Solutions') by helping to identify new partners and customers to use, develop or validate the technology. Funding is available for new collaborations identified through the scheme.

We are currently showcasing a large number of technologies that are relevant to toxicology. View the Solutions in more detail, submit your own Solution or contact the CRACK IT team.



Highlight notice for applications involving the use of human tissue

The NC3Rs recognises that the use of human tissue is essential for better understanding human health and disease, and to reduce the reliance on animal models in basic and biomedical research. It also has the potential to aid the development of more predictive models of disease and drug efficacy and safety.

As such, we have a highlight notice on the use of human tissues for 3Rs purposes across all of our funding schemes for 2017.





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