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Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
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CAATwalk
August 13, 2021

News and Updates from CAAT

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Join the Team: Positions Available at CAAT

CAAT is growing its team and we are looking for professionals at any level of experience in the following areas:
  • Communications and Social Media Management
  • Event Planning and Logistics 
  • Metabolomics
  • Computational Toxicology

If you, or someone you know, are interested in learning more about those positions, please email Camila Januario at cjanuar1@jhu.edu

 



CAAT at the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences


Join via WC11 conference portal or register here.


CAAT Presentations
(All times are CST)

MONDAY AUGUST 23rd DAY 1

KATHRIN HERRMANN (Co-Chair and Speaker)
7.00 - 9.00 PM
S196: Barriers of Refinement Use in Practice (Theme: Ethics, Welfare and Regulation)
Refinement research has the potential to improve the lives of many animals. However, implementation of Refinement is often limited, even when Refinements are based on scientifically sound discoveries. Barriers to implementation may include: economical constraints, apprehensions about changes to data, limitations in products marketed by animal research suppliers and people (their cultural backgrounds, attitudes and beliefs towards animals). This workshop explores what is perceived as the potential barriers to implementation of Refinement, with the aim of highlighting paths forward for successful application. Real case studies will be presented to reveal existing barriers and as examples on ways to achieve change.
 
Abstract ID 366 - Education and training to fully Implement refinement methods in practice - KATHRIN HERRMANN


TUESDAY AUGUST 24th DAY 2

THOMAS HARTUNG
3.00 - 5.00 PM
S114: Artificial Intelligence for Risk and Safety Assessment (Theme: Innovative Technologies)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) consists of an array of methodologies that are capable of extracting complex patterns from big data. The session will discuss the basic concept and methodologies of AI applied in predictive toxicology. The 21st century toxicology has increasingly used new tools, particularly alternative methodologies which generates new data streams. With examples from risk assessment and drug development, the guiding principle and best practice of applying AI in toxicology will be discussed with a specific emphasis on application for the new data streams.

THOMAS HARTUNG
6.30 - 8.30 PM
S205: A Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment
The Virtual Human Platform for Safety Assessment (VHP4Safety) is a new integrated approach for assessing safety, based on quantitative information of human biology, toxicology and exposure. The VHP4Safety will form an overarching platform integrating high quality data from existing data(bases) and algorithms, as well as new data acquired within the project. During this session we dive into the topic of predictive modelling, data science, exposure assessment and advanced human in vitro models, to design a platform that reflects the Virtual Human and address the emerging societal challenge towards transition to animal-free safety assessment completely based on human data.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 25th DAY 3

MARCEL LEIST
3.00 - 5.00 PM
S70: Challenges of Non-Animal Approaches for Food Safety & Nutrition in the 21st Century: From Inception to Application (Theme: Safety)
This session proposal aims to discuss:
  • Different applicable legislations for non-animal approaches in the food sector
  • The way food scientists approach animal and animal-free studies
  • Benchmarking of non-animal approaches in different industry sectors
  • Real life risk assessment application in food safety and nutrition
ALEX MAERTENS
6.30 - 8.30 PM
S105: The role of clinical research on the understanding and treatment of diseases (Theme: Disease)
Clinical-based research can, for example: explore specific genes, gene sequences or patterns that may be involved in the aetiology of a disease; perform neurological examinations to identify areas involved in specific diseases; describe the biochemical and physiological changes that occur during the development of a disease; or understand relevant psychological and epidemiological factors that can play a role in the development of a disease.

Better collection, sharing, and utilisation of human-based knowledge can improve the integration of multidisciplinary approaches, understanding of the pathophysiology of specific diseases and development and testing of new therapies, whilst limiting the use of other animals.
 

THURSDAY AUGUST 26th DAY 4

LENA SMIRNOVA
3.00 - 5.00 PM
S177: Innovative approaches for CNS research - from brain organoids to new single cell culture methods (Theme: Innovative technologies)
A functioning central nervous system (CNS) is key for living, and ageing is a major risk factor of disfunction. With the increase in human lifespan the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases is rising. There is a demand for good models for neurodegenerative diseases, as current in vivo models have limitations and ethical concerns.

Modeling the CNS in vitro is, however, challenging. Recent discoveries in neuroscience, such as the breakthroughs of induced pluripotent stem cell technology, 3D-organotypic cultures and organs-on-chip, move the field forward. This workshop will overview how scientists are embracing new cutting-edge technologies and provide a guidemap for future developments.

FRANCOIS BUSQUET, ALTERTOX ACADEMY 
3.00 - 5.00 PM
S195: Industry and public sector partnerships in education to foster the implementation of alternative methods (Theme: Ethics, Welfare and Regulation)
Abstract ID 496 - Ways to improve their effectiveness and recognition 

Newer alternative methods to animal tests in toxicology are increasingly using advanced techniques. These are sometimes more complex than historical animal tests and their appropriation by stakeholders, CROs, safety evaluators, regulatory bodies require new knowledge, equipment and also availability of the test systems. Their validation is a must but not always sufficient to be accepted everywhere. To be trusted and routinely used there is a need of communication and training at an international level for both current professionals and next generation of toxicologists. 

In this context a number of initiatives involving private companies in partnership with educational/research institutions, learned societies and nonprofit organizations have emerged to organize theoretical as well as hands-on-training of human-relevant alternative methods. This allows students, scientists and toxicologists, to quickly become familiar with newer methods and to better understand how to use the results for GHS (global harmonization system) classification or risk assessment. In these approaches the notion of partnership is crucial. On one hand, private companies, such as methods providers or end-users, have expertise and access to technologies and methods. On the other hand, public establishments, academic institutions or learned society are representative of the intended population and have legitimacy in education.

After a short presentation of some examples involving private and public/nonprofit players conducted in Europe, South America, India or China this round table will discuss some of the barriers experienced (funding, mistrust...), definition of education and training good practices (mixing theory and practice, hosting laboratory...) and ways to improve the effectiveness and recognition of these courses (university partnership, certification, webinars...). Finally, the interest of coordination and generalization of this kind of partnerships to accelerate the spread of alternative methods to animal experimentation worldwide will be discussed.

MARCEL LEIST & GIORGIA PALLOCCA (Session Chair and Co-Chair)
Speakers: THOMAS HARTUNG, MARTIN STEPHENS, COSTANZA ROVIDA, FRANCOIS BUSQUET

6.30 - 8.30 PM
S85: A walk through 10 years of CAAT-Europe’s highlights
The Center for Alternative to Animal Testing in Europe (CAAT-Europe), housed at the University of Konstanz, coordinates transatlantic activities to promote the development of new and improved methods in toxicology, to provide a platform for different stakeholders for exchanging ideas, and to support the 3R’s principle of human science. CAAT-Europe is going to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its foundation, with a session focused on the most relevant CAAT articles that have been published in the last years. The presentations will cover several topics, as in vitro regulatory, systemic and investigative toxicology, including the application of omics, microphysiological systems and good practice guidance for supporting a human-centered toxicity testing paradigm change. Each speaker will introduce a single publication to tell the story behind its compilation and to discuss its implication and impact on the actual and future discussion in the 3Rs field.
 

FRIDAY AUGUST 27th DAY 5

THOMAS HARTUNG
2.30 - 3.00 PM
WC11 TV - Live from the studio. 

FRANCOIS BUSQUET
3.00 - 5.00 PM
Data Access and EU Institutions

MONDAY AUGUST 30th DAY 6

MARTIN STEPHENS AND KATHRIN HERRMANN (Session Chairs)
Speaker: HELENA HOGBERG
6.30 - 8.30 PM
S84: Beyond the 3Rs: Expanding the Use of Human-Relevant Replacement Methods in Biomedical Research (Theme: Disease)
The current landscape of alternative methods calls for a strategic focus on (1) biomedical research (where many human disease processes remain unclear), (2) replacement methods (given the myriad types of models now available (e.g., organs-on-a-chip), and (3) human relevance (given problems with the current translatability of models). This roundtable will reflect this strategic focus by addressing the use of human relevant models in several areas of biomedical research, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease, autism, and cancer.
 

TUESDAY AUGUST 31st DAY 7

THOMAS HARTUNG
1.00 - 1.30 PM
WC11 TV - Live from the studio.  

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1st DAY 8

FRANCOIS BUSQUET (Session Chair and Speaker)
6.30 - 8.30 PM
Smart use of social media in 3Rs
skills4science
Young researchers dedicate rightfully most of their time to core knowledge production via laboratory experiments, reading peer-review literature, publishing own results, attending conferences whenever possible as well as undertaking trainings on writing grants, papers among many other activities However, the promoter argue here that restricting them to this unique set of activities is jeopardizing creativity and reducing awareness of a more complex picture in science. Other fields linked with social sciences, including scientometrics and epistemological areas covered during conferences and continuous education, may contribute to a more productive working environment for young researchers. This session would be the opportunity to kick-off the discussion and tackle some of these "secondary" topics. This was first covered in the following article "The use of social media in scientific research and creative thinking" by Busquet & Vinken https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2019.04.006

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 2nd DAY 9

SPEAKERS: THOMAS HARTUNG & KATHRIN HERRMANN
Session chair and co-chair: MARTIN STEPHENS AND KATHRIN HERRMANN
3.00 - 5.00 PM
S216: Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change (Theme: Ethics, Welfare and Regulation)
New human biology-based tools should facilitate a strong shift away from animal experimentation. However, in research, animals are still widely seen as the default option, even though interspecies differences compromise translation to the humans. In this workshop we discuss some of the obstacles and driving forces of change. We address the vague public policy provisions regarding animal replacement; the limited education and training possibilities on human-relevant approaches; insufficient funding for the development of non-animal models; psychological lock-in and entrenchment in science; and public misinformation about animal experimentation, as well as how education, funding redeployment, and political action can drive change.

Abstract ID 832 - Educating Future Scientists and Raising Public Awareness on Animal-free Experimentation 
K. Herrmann

Abstract ID - Research and Testing Without Animals: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Heading? 
T. Hartung

Full Program (WC11 Website)
 



SAVE THE DATE!
CAAT 40th Anniversary Symposium

September 21, 2021
10am - 1pm EST (US and Canada)
Online

Please save the date for the celebration of CAAT's 40th birthday on September 21, 2021. The program will features special guests and friends of CAAT from its 40 year history promoting and shaping the field of alternatives and humane science. You won't want to miss this special event!

Register in advance for this meeting here.

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Watch for updates in upcoming CAATwalks!

 



Next Generation Humane Science Award: Application Period Now Open

Completed Applications Due by 11:59pm on September 12, 2021

The Next Generation Humane Science Award is available annually to young scientists to acknowledge and encourage researchers who focus on replacing the use of animals in experiments. The 2021 award will be a prize of up to $5,000 to recognize the work of one young scientist; this may be shared among two or more young scientists. Please email completed application to caat@jhu.edu.

Qualification Criteria

The work must be focused on the replacement of animals used in experimentation. Excellence of research outcome as demonstrated by publications and presentations at scientific meetings. The review committee will also take into account:

  • The significance of the potential to replace animal experiments in the future.
  • Providing an inspiration to others (fellow students, members of the research group) and outreach to wider audiences.
  • The potential for the replacement methodologies to be used in a regulatory context.

2021 Eligibility Criteria

  • The candidate must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States working at a US-based institution.
  • The candidate should not have received a PhD or similar degree earlier than 2012.
  • Current and former employees (or their family members) of the Center of Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University cannot apply.
Full Details and Application
 


Challenges and Opportunities for Overcoming Dog Use in Agro-chemical Evaluation and Registration

October 25th, 2021
9am-1pm EDT
Online

The 90-day dog study is being conducted for agro-chemical authorization when it is not always needed to adequately address hazard identification and human safety and risk. This virtual workshop will host a series of presentations on the role the dog study has played in regulation of agro-chemicals in both the U.S. and Europe during the past 20 years and what approaches may be employed to substantially reduce its use. The public will have the opportunity to submit comments and questions to be discussed during the following invitation-only workshop.

Details and Registration
 


SAVE THE DATE!
EBTC 10th Anniversary Symposium

November 11, 2021
Online

Please save the date for the Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration's 10th anniversary symposium, which will be held online on November 11, 2021. 

Further details will be forthcoming in this newsletter and on the EBTC website

 



Microphysiological Systems World Summit

SAVE THE DATES!

Virtual Conference: Systems Engineering of Microphysiological Systems

December 9, 2021

Hybrid Conference
May 30-June 3, 2022
Hilton New Orleans Riverside

The MPS World Summit will bring together a global audience—including institutions (government, health foundations, charities), the academic research community (universities, research institutes), environmental and human toxicity researchers, the pharmaceutical and other industries (cosmetics, chemical, and food industries), medical centers and practitioners, patient associations, and policy makers and testing centers—in a series of global conferences to create A roadmap for MPS technologies.

Bronze sponsor
Nortisbio
 
Silver sponsors
Hesperos
AxoSim
InSphero

Exhibitor
Mimetas

BECOME A SPONSOR!

Multiple sponsorship levels are available. Please see our sponsorship flyer (PDF) and visit this link to request sponsorship information.

Visit the MPS World Summit website for full information.
 



MPS World Summit Young Investigator Award Winner

Ilka Maschmeyer

Ilka Maschmeyer, of TissUse GmbH, has been awarded the 2021 MPS World Summit Young Investigator Award for her paper entitled Multi-Organ-Chip Technologies: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Drug Development. 

Please join us in congratulation Ilka!

 


2021 Reduction and Refinement Award Winner

Abby C. Collier, PhD

In 2021, CAAT presented the award to Abby C. Collier PhD (The University of British Columbia), for her project "In vitro-in-vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling."

In vitro-in-vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling

(PBPK) are mathematical approaches to taking data from a laboratory and translating it to useful approaches for deciding on drug dosages in clinical trials and chemical or environmental safety standards. Animals are used to understand how drug and environmental chemicals exert their effects and to evaluate their safety/toxicity profiles. Enzymes are major determinants of drug/chemical efficacy and toxicity, that localize to different parts inside the cell known as microsomes and cytosol. We can purify these enzymes by isolating the microsomes and cytosol from animal tissues. In this manner one animal can be used for studying multiple drugs and chemicals, rather than multiple animals per chemical. More importantly, once standard microsome and cytosol mathematical parameters are characterized and validated (called “scalars”), they do not change. We recently identified the lack of a comprehensive review collating, comparing and contrasting the scalars needed to build the mathematical models from pre-clinical animals. The goal of this project is to collect and collate the microsomal and cytosolic scalars to produce a resource that integrates and evaluates them, then provides best-practice guidance for their usage. We will also identify gaps in knowledge of scalars that have not yet been produced. In the short term this can reduce the number of animals used in pharmacological and toxicological research, in the long term we hope to eliminate animal use all together.

Abby C. Collier PhD
Professor of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
Director Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences (BPSc) Degree Program
The University of British Columbia

Please join us in congratulating Abby!
 


 


WATCH NOW:
2nd Annual Jamie DeRita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium

The Jamie Derita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium was held on July 20th, 2021 on Zoom. 

This symposium honored the life of Jamie DeRita, who passed away in June 2020. Jamie was CAAT's event coordinator from 2012-2018, and was known to many of our friends and colleagues for her tireless work on our many meetings, conferences and symposia over the years.

Jamie was famous throughout the Maryland shelter and animal welfare communities as someone who could not say no to helping any animal that needed a home. She was known to regularly pick up animals she saw in her daily travels, and to work non-stop to find them perfect homes. Her CAAT family will honor her with a series of presentations about our deep relationship with animals and adoption of lab animals, with brief testimonials from family and friends interspersed throughout the event. Her family has also started a fundraiser to secure the future of her four children. Please consider donating any amount here.

Guest speakers included:

Martin Stephens
Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
How the U.S. Animal Protection Community Contributed to the 3Rs

Amy Fultz
Director of Behavior and Research, Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Chimp Haven's Story

Ellie Hansen
Writer, animal advocates and CEO of Lovable Pets, Inc.
Inspiring Stories of Laboratory Dog Rescue

Watch Now (YouTube)
 

WATCH NOW: 3Rs Training Webinars

Since April 2021, Kathrin Herrmann, PhD has been organizing a 3Rs training webinar series in both her roles as CAAT’s Beyond Classical Refinement Director and Berlin’s Animal Protection Commissioner. Some of the webinars are in English and some are in German.


3Rs Training Webinar: The Model Dilemma in Biomedical Research (in German)

The 2nd Webinar in the 3Rs training webinar series took place on May 17, 2021. Dr. Sarah Hedtrich from the University of British Columbia gave a talk on the model dilemma in biomedical research, based on a recent paper she co-authored (Adhikary, P.P., Ul Ain, Q., Hocke, A.C. et al. COVID-19 highlights the model dilemma in biomedical research. Nat Rev Mater 6, 374–376 (2021)).
Watch Now (YouTube)


3Rs Training Webinar: Innovative Respiratory Models

The 3rd Webinar in the 3Rs training webinar series took place on Monday, June 21, 2021. Lindsay Marshall, PhD from the Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International gave an overview about innovative respiratory models that can mimic the structure and functions of the human airways, including the lung-on-a-chip, and its application to understand SARS-CoV2.
Watch Now (YouTube)

3Rs Training Webinar: Norecopa: a National Consensus Platform working to advance the 3Rs internationally 

The 4th Webinar  in the 3Rs training webinar series took place on Monday, July 19, 2021. Prof. Adrian Smith, Secretary to the Norwegian 3Rs platform Norecopa, presented a number of projects he has been working on.
Watch Now (YouTube)

CAAT's YouTube Channel
 




 


ecopa Young Scientist Award

The European Consensus Platform on Alternatives announced an award for young scientists (max. 35 years old) participating in the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WC11) Virtual Congress and presenting research on the 3Rs—and more specifically, towards New Approach Methods (NAMs) without animal testing. 

Applicants are requested to send:
  • CV
  • Accepted abstract with the name of the applicant as the first author
  • Declaration of attendance of the congress
Interested researchers should submit the requested documents to the ecopa secretary at the email address: costanza.rovida@chimici.it with the subject line reading: “WC11 ecopa award.” 
The ecopa board or its representative will select the contributions that best represent ecopa’s mission of the 3Rs, as explained in the ecopa strategy document. The decision on the winner will be made by the ecopa board or by its representatives during the Congress on the basis of the quality of the contribution (poster or oral presentation) and eligibility criteria. The amount of the Award is €500.

The Award will be given during the official WC11 Award Ceremony on the last day of the congress. 
Further information is available in the WC11 website.
 


Nix the Six: Virtual Training Series on NAMs

Are you up to date on the latest New Approach Methodologies?  

Join NURA and the Physicians Committee for a series of five virtual training and discussion sessions focused on available methods and strategies for avoiding or reducing animal tests when assessing chemicals and pesticides for the main six acute endpoints commonly referred to as the “6-pack”. Methods and strategies presented will be applicable to pesticides, antimicrobials, and other products.
Each session will feature three to four short lectures and a final roundtable discussion in a Zoom Webinar format. Attendees will be able to ask questions and provide comments; other applications may be used to enable additional interaction between attendees and panelists.
You may attend one session or all five; for more information, please visit the NURA webpage

Sessions are free and held every Thursday from 9:00 – 11:30 AM US ET.
Session 1, September 9: Oral and Dermal Toxicity
Session 2, September 16: Dermal Sensitization
Session 3, September 23: Skin and Eye Irritation
Session 4, September 30: Inhalation Toxicity
Session 5, October 7: Opportunities and Outlook
 


Remembering Robert Combes

CAAT recently received the sad news that Robert Combes, the former Scientific Director (and later Director) of the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments or FRAME, passed away on June 6th
 
Dr. Combes, known as “Bob” to his co-workers and friends throughout the Three Rs community, was an active contributor to the advancement of alternative methods during the 1990s and 2000s. 
 
In recent years, Bob began resuming his professional pursuits with Dr. Michael Balls, formerly the Chair of the FRAME Trustees. 
 
CAAT Senior Research Associate Martin Stephens remembers Bob Combes as a prolific author and speaker, as well as sought-after  member of national and international panels. Bob also had an irrepressible and irreverent sense of humor, Stephens recalls fondly.
 
CAAT Director Thomas Hartung “loved working with Bob when I was head of ECVAM [European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods].”

We send our deepest condolences to Bob's friends and loved ones. 
   


Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team

     

hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events


11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
August 23-September 2, 2021
Maastricht, The Netherlands

Online Symposium: Alternatives to Matrigel
September 10, 2021
Online

EUROTOX 2021
September 26-October 1
Online

ASCCT Annual Meeting
October 12-14
Online

Advances in Cell and Tissue Culture 2021 Virtual Conference
Part 2: November 3, 2021
Online

EU-ToxRisk Final Symposium
November 3-4, 2021
Brussels, Belgium

Lung In Vitro Model Training
November 18-19, 2021
Geneva, Switzerland

Altertox: Skin Sensitization
25-26 November 2021
Hamburg, Germany

MPS World Summit Virtual Conference
Systems Engineering of Microphysiological Systems
December 9, 2021
Online

Microphysiological Systems World Summit
May 30-June 3, 2022
New Orleans

LIVe2022
June 13-14, 2022
Nice, France 

ICT 2022
September 18-22, 2022
Maastricht, The Netherlands

21st International Congress of the European Society of Toxicology In Vitro (ESTIV2020)
November 21-25, 2022
Barcelona

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