Meeting of the EU Network of Laboratories for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EU-NETVAL): Sharing practical expertise and knowledge on in vitro methods
This year, EURL ECVAM welcomed 13 new test facilities to the network, including three from countries which were previously not represented within the network, bringing the total to 37 facilities from 15 different countries across Europe. The network holds a wide range of expertise and competences and includes laboratories experienced in advanced in vitro procedures, biological test systems and measurement techniques which are considered important to address specific aims and objectives identified in EURL ECVAM's strategies to achieve impact in the Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement of animal testing (the 'three Rs') in different areas of regulatory safety assessment.
Representatives from test facilities which are supporting EURL ECVAM in various aspects of validation of in vitro methods engaged in a workshop related to the development of Good In vitro Method Practice (GIVIMP), an international project being led by JRC (EURL ECVAM) on behalf of the EU at the OECD. The purpose of this guidance is to contribute to increased standardisation, harmonisation and overall quality of in vitro studies that inform chemical and product safety assessment in a regulatory context.
At the previous meeting in 2015, practical opportunities to share knowhow throughout the network were identified, with emphasis on the implementation of OECD Test Guidelines (TG) and novel in vitro methods. As a follow-up to this, the second day of the meeting this year was dedicated to knowledge sharing and training sessions organised in the EURL ECVAM laboratory. These practical sessions covered in vitro methods for assessing the skin sensitisation potential of chemicals and included the DPRA, KeratinoSensTM/LuSens and h-CLAT OECD TG methods. This marks the first of what will hopefully be many more collaborations within the network to share expertise and training to validate alternative in vitro methods and promote their use.