Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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ECVAM’s progress in implementing the 3Rs in Europe

Thomas Hartung
ECVAM, Ispra, Italy
Starting with the animal welfare directive of 1986 and continuing up to the most recent chemicals and cosmetics legislation, Europe has laid the groundwork for the implementation of alternative methods. In order to meet these political expectations, certain technical and strategic developments became necessary:

  • Analysis of current in vivo test performance to set benchmarks for alternatives
  • Analysis of the frequency (prevalence) of toxic health effects in different areas of test application
  • Inventory and database of available alternative methods
  • Coached development of lacking tests, also making use of novel technologies
  • Acceleration and international harmonisation of the validation process and regulatory implementation
  • Development of quality assurance systems for in vitro methods such as Good Laboratory Practice and Good Cell Culture Practice
  • Transition from single tests as stand-alone replacements to the composition of test strategies and their validation
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) has played a proactive role in all these processes, coordinating many stakeholder activities. A review of the state of these developments shall be given in order to demonstrate how a new type of evidence-based toxicology is emerging, based on validated and quality controlled test strategies.

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