EU Science: Global Sciences and Global Collaboration

On 12/03/2013, in All posts, by Animal Welfare Intergroup

In the context of EU SCIENCE: GLOBAL SCIENCES AND GLOBAL COLLABORATION, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg’s School of Public Health CAAT (Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing) has organised, last week, two workshops in the European Parliament to raise awareness and chart progress on the implementation of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) and to discuss new science being used for toxicology testing.

The first workshop on the worldwide implementation of the 3Rs for laboratory animals used for scientific purposes was chaired by Intergroup Member Chris Davies (ALDE-UK). It has given a unique opportunity to map the different focuses and understandings of the 3Rs concepts worldwide.
Presentations were given by an international group of scholars in humane science, and explained  the situation in North America, where the focus is largely on Refinement; South America, where efforts are in the developmental and early planning stages, with a new centre established in Brazil (Brazilian Centre  for the Validation of Alternative Test Methods; the diverse approaches and cultures of Asia (China, India, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia…) that predominantly focuses on Reduction and Refinement and integrates not only science but also religious and cultural influences.  Australia and New Zealand, endorse and apply the EU guidelines (EMEA) for use  in the evaluation and
approval of medicines. Australia has recently established a research unit  for alternatives at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (ANU, Canberra) with an evolving emphasis on developing replacement alternatives. As a wrap-up all the speakers agreed that the European Union was a leader in many areas of regulation and policy on the use of laboratory animals for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63 EU)

A second workshop chaired by Vittorio Prodi (S&D-IT) took place the same day  and focused on how and why to integrate systems toxicology in regulatory science. The panelists’ representation covered the main actors in the field: Regulators (e.g. FDA, SCAHT), Harmonization Bodies (OECD), Industries (CEFIC), NGOs (HSI) and Academia (CAAT, INSERM). The speakers discussed the following questions: Is an update needed, what would be the critical elements and by when? What would be the benefits for a common regulatory approach? One of the key messages of the session was the strong commitment of newly appointed Mrs. Corrigan, Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based in Brussels to promote “fit-for-purpose” regulatory toxicology and that the best science should be available to take the best regulatory decisions.  Prof. Thomas Hartung , director of CAAT, insisted that coordination should be central to achieve harmonization and a steering committee or the creation of an agency could be a solution. International collaboration on case studies such as endocrine disruptors (already on-going at the OECD), nanotechnologies and or epigenetics could be favourable for such initiative as underlined by Prof. Barouki and Prof. Fitzgerald. Emily McIvor from HSI suggested that these discussions should be reflected during the EU-US trade agreement negotiation. She also announced that the  European Regional Fund allowed the creation of an in vitro centre in the UK and that this development strategy could be applied elsewhere (e.g. Horizon2020).
Moreover EU regulators emphases their wishes to be further in the core of the integration of these new approaches as it is already the case for their American colleagues.


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