In a press release published on April 28, 2020, the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (Ecetoc) announced the publication of an article in the peer-reviewed journal Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, which discusses improving and expanding read-across techniques for chemical safety assessments. The article is the outcome of a workshop organized by Ecetoc at the 2019 European Environmental Mutagen and Genomics Society as a follow-up to an earlier 2016 workshop held by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which had explored how data and information from new approach methodologies (NAMs) can support regulatory decisions for the use of chemical substances.
Ecetoc explained that communication about the progress made since the 2016 ECHA workshop was seen as limited, and therefore its 2019 workshop aimed “to promote communication and discussion of read-across concepts to reduce animal testing.” The article provides a summary of the set of five presentations given during the workshop, which addressed the topics of (i) read-across as a regulatory perspective based on the Read-across Assessment Framework (RAAF), (ii) kinetics and physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling (PBPK) modeling as a component for read-across, (iii) structural similarities and molecular design, (iv) using metabolomics to improve read-across, and (v) big data in silico tools for read-across.
The article concludes that NAMs (i) “were shown to support read-across as well as providing useful and usable information for screening and prioritization,” (ii) are in need of standardization to make them transferable and transparent, (iii) need to have the intrinsic quality and coverage of their data defined and addressed, (iv) need to have the uncertainty of their data better understood and characterized in order to understand how they will affect weight of evidence (WoE) approaches, and (v) need further case studies to demonstrate their practical application.
Ecetoc (April 28, 2020). “ECETOC helps improve and expand read-across techniques for chemical safety assessments.”
Ball, N. et al. (May 2020). “Key read across framework components and biology based improvements.” Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis. 503172 (853). (pdf)