Representing the JRC-IHCP Systems Toxicology Unit and EURL ECVAM - the EU Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing, unit head Maurice Whelan stressed that working together across the globe is the best way to make progress.
The scientist was presenting EURL ECVAM's contribution to international cooperation in validation of alternative methods in the cosmetics sector, at the European Partnership for Alternatives Approaches to Animal Testing annual conference.
Whelan highlighted the achievements of the International Cooperation on Alternative Test Methods (ICATM) which brings together validation bodies from the EU, USA, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea with the aim of aligning efforts in validation and regulatory acceptance.
He stressed the importance of international collaboration in research and development of integrated approaches to safety assessment and outlined ECVAM's strategy to use an Adverse Outcome Pathway approach to design Integrated Testing Strategies for animal-free assessment of skin sensitization potential of chemicals.
When presenting the EPAA Science Award 2012 to Dr Nils Klüver for his project on 'Increasing the predictive capacity of the fish embryo test', Whelan commented that "this proposal is a great example of how innovative research can further develop a method to improve its performance and broaden its applicability even after it has been validated".
All together now…
The EPAA conference mirrored this in its conclusion that greater international co-operation is required to give the movement further impetus.
The eighth annual event held in Brussels centred on the fact that although progress towards eliminating animal testing on a variety of consumer products has continued to progress in Europe, further international co-operation will be crucial to continuing this momentum.
The event attracted some 150 delegates from regulatory bodies, the European Commission, together with representatives from the seven industries that the body represents.
“Strong international cooperation is the future of alternatives to animal testing,” added DG Enterprise and Industry's deputy director general, Antti Peltomäki, during a key note speech given during the event.