Updates from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
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July 12, 2021

News and Updates from CAAT


Save the Date!
Norecopa: a National Consensus Platform Working to Advance the 3Rs Internationally (Presentation by Adrian Smith)

July 19, 2021
1pm EDT (7pm CEST)

Professor Adrian Smith, Secretary to the Norwegian 3Rs platform Norecopa, received the 2020 Charles River Excellence in Refinement Award. Charles River, in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), has sponsored this Award since 2005. Smith was honored for his long-standing contributions, not only to Refinement of animal experimentation, but to all the 3Rs. On July 19th, he will present a number of projects he is currently working on.


Save the Date!
2nd Annual Jamee DeRita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium

July 20, 2021


The Jamie Derita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium will be 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.

A GoFundMe account (see below) has been set up to support Jamie's children—please consider contributing. 

Guest Speakers

  • 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
GoFundMe Donation | Registration

Microphysiological Systems World Summit


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.

Silver Sponsors

Exhibitor 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.

European Pharmacopoeia to Put an End to the Rabbit Pyrogen Test

NOTE: The whole blood pyrogen test was invented by Thomas Hartung 25 years ago—and its variant, based on cryo-preserved blood one year later—brought momentum into the field of pyrogen testing, which, despite the broad application of the Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) assay, aka bacterial endotoxin test (BET), consumed several hundred thousand rabbits per year world-wide.

For context, please see Thomas Hartung's paper, "Pyrogen testing revisited on occasion of the 25th anniversary of the whole blood monocyte activation test" (ALTEX).

Hartung, T. (2021) “Pyrogen testing revisited on occasion of the 25th anniversary of the whole blood monocyte activation test”, ALTEX—Alternatives to animal experimentation, 38(1), pp. 3-19. doi: 10.14573/altex.2101051.


At its 170th session in June 2021, the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) Commission took the decision to engage on a path that should ultimately lead to the complete replacement of the rabbit pyrogen test (RPT) in the Ph. Eur., within approximately 5 years.

The Ph. Eur. test for pyrogens (general chapter 2.6.8) consists of measuring the rise in body temperature evoked in rabbits by the intravenous injection of a sterile solution of the substance to be examined. It was first published in the Ph. Eur. in 1986.

The majority of pyrogens are bacterial endotoxins and these can be detected using the bacterial endotoxins test (BET) described in Ph. Eur. general chapters 2.6.14. Bacterial endotoxins and 2.6.32. Test for bacterial endotoxins using recombinant factor C. However, in some cases, non-endotoxin pyrogens may also be present and these are not detected by the BET. A test covering all types of pyrogens is therefore required to confirm the absence of non-endotoxin pyrogens.

General chapter 2.6.30. Monocyte-activation test (MAT) was added to the Ph. Eur. in 2009, providing an in-vitro alternative to the RPT that is capable of detecting both endotoxin and non-endotoxin pyrogens. The publication of this chapter was a significant step forward in terms of animal welfare, in accordance with the Council of Europe’s European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes.

However, despite multiple efforts since then to encourage developers to apply the MAT instead of the RPT, rabbits continue to be used extensively to detect pyrogenic substances.

There are currently 59 Ph. Eur. texts—covering a variety of topics including vaccines for human use, blood products, antibiotics, radiopharmaceuticals and containers—that refer to the RPT and will be affected. The Ph. Eur. is committed, for all these texts, to replacing the test for pyrogens with a suitable in-vitro alternative, ultimately leading to the complete elimination of the RPT. In the meantime, users are actively encouraged to seek alternatives to chapter 2.6.8, the best option being the MAT.

Throughout the process, users will have the opportunity to comment on a case-by-case basis, since each of the texts concerned will go through the standard public enquiry in Pharmeuropa.

Link (Council of Europe)


Video: Thomas Hartung in "What's Next? The World of Endotoxin

Thomas Hartung appeared in the recent episode of “What’s Next? The World of Endotoxin." Hartung is the the pioneer of the Whole Blood Monocyte activation test. 
Hartung and Albrecht Wendel suggested the Whole Blood Pyrogen test in the mid 90s to replace the Rabbit Pyrogen Test. And good news: last week the EDQM officially took the decision to completely replace the rabbit pyrogen test over the next 5 years.

Watch Now (YouTube)

Thomas Hartung on the Lab Animal of the Year: Rabbit 

Thomas Hartung wrote the introduction to the German-language newsletter, Menschen de Tierrechte (People for Animal Rights), about the lab animal of the year—the rabbit. 

Read the newsletter here (German). 

WC11 Podcast with Thomas Hartung

In this first episode, Thomas Hartung of John Hopkins University and the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) explains how innovation is revolutionizing toxicity testing to improve public health and how life sciences are slowly but surely moving away from animal experimentation.

This series of podcasts is produced by Altertox Academy, representatives of the scientific community, international regulatory bodies and industry will provide their perspectives on the paradigm shift occurring in life sciences in the last decades.

Watch Now

Impact Factor Hits 6.043

The impact factor for ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Testing journal has risen to a second all-time high of 6.043. In the “Medicine, Research & Experimental” category,ALTEX ranks 33rd out of 140 journals.

ALTEX is the official publication of CAAT, the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Chairs in Germany, USA, and Switzerland, and t4 (transatlantic think tank for toxicology, Baltimore, USA, Konstanz, Germany).

ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation Journal


RISK-HUNT3R Project Launches

Risk assessment of chemicals integrating human centric next generation testing strategies promoting the 3Rs

RISK-HUNT3R is the new European effort hosting world-leading experts from many different disciplines aiming to develop a novel and modular framework for animal-free next generation risk assessment (NGRA). Read more on the official press release.

Save the Date!
EU-ToxRisk Final Symposium

November 3-4, 2021
Brussels, Belgium

The final outcomes and legacy of the project will be presented and discussed with all interested participants. 

The event will host the launch of the ASPIS cluster (Animal-free Safety assessment of chemicals: Project cluster for Implementation of novel Strategies). The cluster includes the projects RISK-HUNT3R, ONTOX and PrecisionTOX, representing a Europe’s €60M effort towards a sustainable, animal-free and reliable chemical risk assessment.

CAAT and CAAT-Europe are EU-ToxRisk partners. 


Altertox June Newsletter Now Available

The Altertox June Newsletter is available now. Among the latest news and updates, this edition features the first Altertox video, setting the state-of-the-art on non-animal models and the transition towards precision toxicology. This is the first episode of a series of three short movies to raise awareness on New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) and address the reduction and replacement of animal experimentation. The second episode will highlight breakthrough technologies and their applications. The third will focus on the barriers and challenges that our field of research must overcome to maximise the uptake of these faster, more effective and humane solutions.

Altertox June Newsletter

Watch the Video "Towards Alternatives to Animal Testing, Episode One" on YouTube 

Altertox Newsletter Archive


New Publication

Mathieu Vinken, Emilio Benfenati, François Busquet, José Castell, Djork-Arné Clevert, Theo M. de Kok, Hubert Dirven, Ellen Fritsche, Liesbet Geris, Rafael Gozalbes, Thomas Hartung, Danyel Jennen, Ramiro Jover, Helena Kandarova, Nynke Kramer, Cyrille Krul, Thomas Luechtefeld, Rosalinde Masereeuw, Erwin Roggen, Stephan Schaller, Tamara Vanhaecke, Chihae Yang, Aldert H. Piersma, Safer chemicals using less animals: kick-off of the European ONTOX project,
Toxicology, Volume 458, 202,152846, ISSN 0300-483X,

Abstract: The 3Rs concept, calling for replacement, reduction and refinement of animal experimentation, is receiving increasing attention around the world, and has found its way to legislation, in particular in the European Union. This is aligned by continuing high-level efforts of the European Commission to support development and implementation of 3Rs methods. In this respect, the European project called “ONTOX: ontology-driven and artificial intelligence-based repeated dose toxicitytesting of chemicals for next generation risk assessment” was recently initiated with the goal to provide a functional and sustainable solution for advancing human risk assessment of chemicals without the use of animals in line with the principles of 21st century toxicity testing and next generation risk assessment. ONTOX will deliver a generic strategy to create new approach methodologies (NAMs) in order to predict systemic repeated dose toxicity effects that, upon combination with tailored exposure assessment, will enable human risk assessment. For proof-of-concept purposes, focus is put on NAMs addressing adversities in the liver, kidneys and developing brain induced by a variety of chemicals. The NAMs each consist of a computational system based on artificial intelligence and are fed by biological, toxicological, chemical and kinetic data. Data are consecutively integrated in physiological maps, quantitative adverse outcome pathway networks and ontology frameworks. Supported by artificial intelligence, data gaps are identified and are filled by targeted in vitro and in silico testing. ONTOX is anticipated to have a deep and long-lasting impact at many levels, in particular by consolidating Europe’s world-leading position regarding the development, exploitation, regulation and application of animal-free methods for human risk assessment of chemicals.

OpenTox 2021 Virtual Conference

September 20-24, 2021

Abstract Deadline: June 30

The OpenTox 2021 Conference activity will take place online on 20 - 24 September supported by online tools for poster presentations, webinars, hackathons, and communications (OpenTox Slack). 
OpenTox Virtual Conference Organising Group:
Sandra Coecke (EC JRC), Paula Braun (3T analytik), Vinicius Alves (NIEHS), Kasper Renggli (PMI), Asish Mohapatra (Health Canada), Hanan Osman-Ponchet (PKDERM), Priyanka Banerjee (Charité), Pranika Singh (Edelweiss Connect), Barry Hardy (Edelweiss Connect), Thierry Lave (Roche), Hyun-Kil Shin (KIT), Bart van der Burg (BDS), Paul Thomas (Kreatis), Ramez Labib (Avon), Roustem Saiakhov (MultiCase), Arantza Muriana (Biobide), Ugis Sarkans (EMBL - EBI), Michelle Angrish (US EPA)
  • Virtual poster session accompanied by scheduled discussions per sub-session (poster shared folder, web meeting, and Slack). Posters will be available for viewing all week and discussion via Slack. 
  • Each poster session topic will have a short presentation and discussion of the posters via GoToMeeting
  • Predictive Toxicology and Safety Assessment Hackathon (Github, Web meeting, and Slack) will run all week where groups can work hands-on in teams on problems
  • Key Topic Webinars will be held on each topic
Submit an abstract: 
If you would like to present a talk or poster at the conference please provide your abstract through the following form (the deadline for talk presentations is 31 June 2021, deadline for posters is 31 July 2021).


Alternatives to Matrigel Online Symposium 

September 10, 2021

Human cell culture systems are widely used tools in many research areas, for example in toxicology. While some cells are capable of producing their own extracellular matrix (ECM), many others require pre-coating of the cell culture dish. One example are human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Matrigel is one of the most commonly used coatings for culturing iPSC (and other cell types) and is retrieved by inducing sarcoma tumours to mice. Its replacement is desired for several reasons, including better standardization conditions and for ethical reasons. 

This Mini-symposium is aimed to bring together various experts from the field from both academia and industry to highlight and discuss available alternative coatings for human cell culture.

Register here. Deadline: September 6th 2021 

Abstract submission: Please select if you will submit an abstract on the registration form. Email abstract to: Deadline for abstract submission: August 16th 2021.


Survey to Assess Journal and Reviewer Requests for Evidence in Animals

Please take this short survey before July 15

In February 2013, Dr. H. Shaw Warren, then a sepsis researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, was interviewed by Gina Kolata, a reporter at the New York Times about the difficulties his research group had encountered while attempting to publish a specific paper. What was the main objection raised by reviewers for various journals, including Science and Nature? The fact that the study demonstrated that mice were very poor models for mimicking human inflammatory diseases. As Dr. Warren commented, “They [the reviewers] were so used to doing mouse studies that they thought that was how you validate things.”

Eight years later, very little has changed according to some prominent scientists such as Dr. Donald Ingber at The Wyss Institute and Dr. Hans Clevers at University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. Both Dr Ingber and Dr Clevers—who work primarily with human cell-based technologies such as organ on a chip and organoids–have recently encountered resistance from reviewers and journal editors after submitting papers that do not rely on animal models to study human conditions.

This resistance constitutes a type of publication bias that relates to barriers in fully accepting non-animal methods. It occurs when researchers who use more advanced technologies that do not rely on animals are asked to produce animal data as a condition for their papers to be accepted.
To better understand this type of publication bias and how often it happens, the Biomed21 Collaboration teamed up with The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and created a short survey to collect scientists’ impressions and experiences related to peer review.
Take the Survey

Herbert Stiller Research Grant 2021—Call for Applications

Deadline: July 31st, 2021

The NGO Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE; Ärzte gegen Tierversuche e.V.) announces the Herbert Stiller Research Grant to support animal-free research. The grant is awarded for excellent innovative research focusing on the investigation and therapy of human diseases. Supported projects should significantly contribute to medical progress by employing animal-free, human-based approaches such as in vitro studies or clinical and epidemiological investigations into the causes of the diseases of civilization.

The research grant, named after one of DAAE’s co-founders, Dr. Herbert Stiller (1923-1984), specialist in neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, was awarded a total of 7 times in the 1990s and 2000s. Earmarked sponsorship funds made a new grant reward possible in 2019. The grant will be awarded again this year and will be issued in two-year intervals.



ASCCT 2021: Abstract Submissions Open

October 12-14, 2021

Abstract Deadlines:

  • Oral or flash poster presentation consideration: July 23rd
  • PDF poster presentation consideration: September 10th
Abstracts for oral, flash poster, and static poster presentations are now invited to be submitted. Any submissions related to in vitro and in silico toxicology, broadly defined and including science, policy, and regulatory topics, are welcome.

Five oral sessions will focus on the following categories:
  1. 21st-Century challenges for 21st-Century Toxicology, featuring plenary speaker Patience Browne, OECD
  2. Practical applications of Omics, featuring plenary speaker Carole Yauk, University of Ottawa
  3. Applying Artificial Intelligence in Toxicology, featuring plenary speakers Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University/CAAT and Sean Ekins, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals
  4. New Approaches to Validation, featuring plenary speakers Andrew Worth and Sandra Coecke, EU Joint Research Centre
  5. Free communications 

The meeting will also feature poster sessions and other engagement opportunities.


Animal Cruelty: Number One Reason Consumers Would "Cancel" a Brand

The number one reason to “cancel” a brand – or at least boycott or protest them - is the mistreatment of animals. Animal cruelty was named as the top reasons why consumers would give up on a brand in all three countries included in the Cancel Culture survey which is a content special of the Statista Global Consumer Survey. 44 percent of the more than 1,500 U.S. respondents said they would give companies mistreating animals the boot, ahead of the mistreatment of workers at 41 percent. UK respondents saw things similarly, while in Germany, worker mistreatment only came in rank six after environmental harm, corruption, health concerns around products, and racism.

Full Article at Statista

Best wishes from all of us,

The CAAT Team


hand holding centrifuge tubes

Upcoming Events

Norecopa: a National Consensus Platform Working to Advance the 3Rs Internationally (Presentation by Adrian Smith)
July 19, 2021

2nd Annual Jamie DeRita Memorial Animal Protection Symposium
July 20, 2021

11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences
August 23-September 3, 2021
Maastricht, The Netherlands

Online Symposium: Alternatives to Matrigel
September 10, 2021

September 26-October 1

ASCCT Annual Meeting
October 12-14

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

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

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

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

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Phone: 410-614-4990 • Fax: 410-614-2871

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