Drop of 30 percent in use of animals in some chemical tests could be quickly achieved through use of cells, US says

October 03, 2001

U.S. scientists are reducing the number of rodents in chemical safety testing to a fraction of the 50 to 200 animals used in the old LD50 test for toxicity, but the use of human or animal cell lines could immediately reduce the number of animals further -- as much as 30 percent more -- the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said today in releasing two new federal interagency reports on alternative testing methods.

The old LD50 test (which stands for lethal dose 50 percent) rated the toxicity of chemicals by finding the dose that killed half the test animals. As now being modified by three more humane alternatives, only eight to 12 rodents are needed to estimate the lethal dose. The tests at issue determine if a chemical or product will cause illness or death in animals after ingestion of a single dose. Restrictions, warning labels and special packaging, such as child-proof containers, are based on the results.

The two new reports suggest that cell lines may eventually replace much animal testing but that even today cells (which are grown in cultures and reproduce indefinitely) can be used to screen chemicals for their relative toxicity, thereby further reducing the need for animals by nearly a third.

The reports say effective testing - including some requiring animals - remains necessary to reduce the risks of death, disfigurement and injury facing adults and children from chemicals in the workplace and in the home. Some 2.2 million human poisonings were reported to U.S. poison control centers in 1999 alone, with 873 deaths and 13,500 cases involving life-threatening symptoms or significant residual disability or disfigurement.

Today's statements on reducing animals used for testing were made with the release to the scientific community of the Report of the International Workshop on In Vitro Methods for Assessing Acute Systemic Toxicity (NIH Publication 01-4499) and an accompanying Guidance Document on Using In Vitro Data to Estimate In Vivo Starting Doses for Acute Toxicity (NIH Publication 01-4500.) NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at NIEHS, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency co-sponsored the workshop, which produced these documents and was attended by more than 100 scientists from eight countries.

So the effort has been to find tests that are as good, or better, than the older animal-intensive tests, and that may provide information more helpful in diagnosing and managing patients who become sick from ingesting toxic materials. Currently:

Much of the work to reduce animal test requirements has been fostered by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) which was organized by NIEHS in 1997 to evaluate new test methods.

ICCVAM is composed of representatives from 15 federal agencies - the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, National Cancer Institute, Department of Energy, NIEHS, Department of the Interior, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Transportation, National Library of Medicine and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

ICCVAM's work gets staff and other support from the National Toxicology Program's Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, or NICEATM, which organized the workshops from which the two reports released today were developed.

Other alternatives which have gone into general use under ICCVAM's auspices have substituted for more animal-intensive tests for allergic contact dermatitis and for the corrosiveness of chemicals on the skin.

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.