March 17, 2016 by Owen Green & Ed Stutt

Two principal consultants of wca, Owen Green and Ed Stutt, are attending the Society of Toxicology (SoT) annual meeting and ToxExpo from 13th to the 17th March in New Orleans. Their round-up of Day 3 is detailed.

The conference hall and stands

On Wednesday morning Ed attended a workshop session titled ‘A Paradigm Change in Toxicology: What Will it Take To Bring Advances in the Science of Toxicology into Regulatory Use?’. Presentations in this session from regulators and industry looked at the opportunities for using in vitro and alternative methods in chemical risk assessment. Derek Knight from ECHA gave an overview of REACh and detailed predictive non-animal approaches such as read across and the integrated assessment and testing approach (IATA) for skin sensitisation. Marco Covaro of Dow Agro called for a globally harmonised assessment program and greater use of toxicokinetics in risk assessment while Gladys Ouedraogo of L’Oreal outlined a study that looked at combining predictions from QSARs, chemotypes and HTS-BG.

In the Expo Hall there was an extensive array of poster presentation on risk assessment looking at potential risks to health from emerging contaminants and recent studies of well-known hazards such as asbestos, cadmium and chromium (VI).

In the afternoon Ed attended a symposium session looking at a European initiative to look at possible health effects from pesticides. Representatives from the Danish EPA, JRC and several universities gave presentations looking at use of the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) concept to potentially link epidemiological to mechanistic data on the correlation of pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s Disease.

Owen attended a workshop session entitled “Screening chemicals for neurotoxicity outcomes-using large datasets and multiple endpoints to develop “toxicity profiles”. The presentations in this session included data from the use of the eCiphrNeuro assay for the prediction of seizures as well as comments on the current in vivo assessment of neurological performance included in the OECD 424 and 426 studies and also the use of metabolomics to determine the potential of neurotoxicity of test substances. The principal interest from my side was in developments of neurotoxicity assessment outside of developmental neurotoxicity which centred around the conduct of microelectrode action potential assessment in vitro of different CNS cell types. This methodology was contrasted with the in vivo neurological assessments which continues to form the basis of regulatory neurological assessment. The development of in vitro microelectrode and “omics” approaches, whilst providing significant data for assessment of the potential for neurological effects, are yet to be accepted by regulatory authorities on the basis that links between the changes demonstrated and the physiological condition are yet to be established.

In addition, details of capabilities of laboratories conducting bespoke neurological tests were sought and contacts made.