SEURAT-1 Frequently Asked Questions
What does the acronym “SEURAT” mean?
SEURAT stands for “Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing”
What is SEURAT-1 and its background?
A full ban of animal testing for cosmetics came into force on 11 March 2013 in the European Union. Since this date, cosmetic ingredients tested on animals cannot be marketed within the EU.
To overcome the lack of scientific knowledge needed to implement alternative safety testing solutions, the Health Theme of the Directorate General of Research and Innovation of the European Commission and Cosmetics Europe launched the Research Initiative "Towards the replacement of in vivo repeated dose systemic toxicity testing".
In June 2009 the framework for this Research Initiative was created through a call for proposals under the Health Theme of the 7th European RTD Framework Programme (FP7): ”Alternative Testing Strategies: Towards the replacement of in vivo repeated dose systemic toxicity testing”.
The SEURAT-1 Research Initiative has started in January 2011 and even if it was initially motivated by the cosmetic industry, it is also relevant in the context of the European Union Regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), in the development of pharmaceuticals, and in other industrial sectors. SEURAT-1 is the first EU-funded initiative that addresses the issue of alternatives to animal testing for prediction of repeated dose systemic toxicity.
Who are the SEURAT-1 partners?
The composition of the SEURAT-1 cluster is unique, as toxicologists, biologists from different disciplines, pharmacists, chemists, bioinformaticians and leading experts from other domains work together on common scientific objectives.
What is unique about SEURAT-1?
SEURAT-1 is unique in several aspects:
- Joint funding by the European Commission and a specific industrial sector (cosmetics industry / Cosmetics Europe)
- Coordinated cluster of RTD projects right from the start
- Support through a data management and servicing project right from the start
Funding of SEURAT-1
The European Commission and Cosmetics Europe provide EUR 50 million funding to try to fill current gaps in scientific knowledge and accelerate the development of non-animal test methods.
How long will SEURAT-1 take place and what is its goal?
The goal of the 5-year SEURAT-1 Research Initiative is to develop a consistent research strategy ready for implementation in following research programmes. This includes establishing innovative scientific tools for better understanding of repeated dose toxicity based on in vitro tests, and identifying gaps of knowledge to be bridged by future research work. The end result would be testing methods which, within the framework of safety assessment, have a higher predictive value, are faster and cheaper than those currently used, and significantly reduce the use of animal tests.
What does it mean "alternative testing methods" ?
Some ingredients used in consumer products (cosmetics, medications, household chemicals, …) might have toxic effects on human, immediately or at the long term. Regulations therefore require tests before a products can be put on the market, some of which are done with animals. Alternative testing methods are technological solutions that allow to evaluate the safety of products/ingredients on humans health without using animals.
What other areas can be impacted by the SEURAT-1 outcomes?
If SEURAT-1 research is successful, the results can be used in other sectors such as drug development, food production, industrial chemicals or plant protection. The impact may be quite significant which makes SEURAT-1 even more unique.
What will happen after SEURAT-1 ?
By 2015 SEURAT-1 will provide the proof of a new concept for alternative human safety testing. Once this demonstration has been made, a lot of additional research and innovation effort is needed to translate this new concept into technical solutions that can be used in daily safety testing practice. Cosmetics Europe and many other parties are engaged in supporting the continuation of the research work required to ultimately replace animal testing in human safety assessment.
Are there similar initiatives in Europe and in the world?
SEURAT-1 is actively cooperating with other related projects such as Tox21or AXLR8, and with important initiatives such as EPAA, ESTIV, CAAT, and others. Check their websites for more extended information about the toxicology domain. More important links can be found in the section Links.