The SEURAT-1 research initiative on the replacement of in vivo repeated dose toxicity testing had its third annual meeting in Lisbon 6-7 March, just the week prior to the entering into force of the total ban of animal testing under the Cosmetics Directive, the 11th of March 2013. This deadline gave an additional flavour to this mid-term meeting to be a turning point when not only the relevance of the project but the urgency of the need to deliver was apparent. SEURAT-1 is unique in being the largest EU project on alternative methods and in addition co-founded by a public-private partnership, with equal contribution from the Commission (FP7, Health Programme) and Cosmetics Europe. Bernard Mulligan (DG RTD) observed in his introductory speech how the goal of the 3Rs in society was developing from primarily a focus on protecting laboratory animals into an additional ambition of improving human safety assessment. SEURAT-1 fully embraces this.
The central theme of the third annual meeting was the SEURAT-1 three Proofs of Concepts, the first of them being the theoretical description of a mode of action (MoA). For the second Proof of Concept all project partners were invited to participate in the development of integrated systems for toxicity prediction. It was stressed the need to understand how you can combine mechanistic understanding for predictive toxicology with suitable methods to achieve the prediction goal. The third proof of concept was introduced by describing the two planned case studies, one data-rich suitable for a read across based on combination of data from structural features and in vitro data, and one data-poor for which more test data will be required, to understand how to pragmatically build up a chemical safety assessment.
SEURAT-1 is a cluster of five research projects (COSMOS, Scr&Tox, DETECTIVE, HeMiBio and NoTox), a central data analysis service ToxBank and a coordination action COACH. The project coordinators provided reports on progress and cross-cluster activities since the second annual meeting. In the concluding outlook session, the coordinators gave their view on high lights and challenges expected in the following year within their projects as well as at the cluster level.
A SEURAT-1 Market Placewas organised to host several discussions in parallel on specific issues in smaller groups and encourage cross-cluster interactions. There were also short presentations made on scientific progress in connection to the poster session. Three young scientists were presented with “Excellent Poster Awards”: Adil El Taghdouini (HeMiBio), Simona Kovarich (COSMOS) and Alicia Paini (COSMOS). They will all get the opportunity to participate at a scientific conference of their choice reimbursed by Cosmetics Europe.
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