Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing (SEURAT), a research initiative funded by the European Union's Health Programme and Colipa, has gotten underway with a kick-off meeting, held March 1-3, 2011, in Cascais, Portugal.
At the first meeting, nearly 100 scientists from over 70 European organizations will begin SEURAT-1, the first of the program's six research projects*. SEURAT-1 will develop knowledge and technology building blocks required for the development of solutions for the replacement of current repeated dose systemic toxicity testing in vivo used for the assessment of human safety.
This research initiative, launched in July 2009, will take place over five years and is backed by €50 million, funded equally by both programs.
The collaboration between these six research projects, the dissemination of results, the cooperation with other international research teams and the continuous updating on research priorities will be facilitated by the coordination and support action project “COACH.”
According to Colipa, the development of non-animal alternative methods represents a considerable scientific challenge. The development, validation and acceptance of alternative methods by regulatory bodies can only be considered as a long-term effort. Therefore, in addition to the research and technology development work, SEURAT-1 will also elaborate a longer-term roadmap ensuring that European research efforts can be united and invested efforts optimized in order to achieve deployable solutions as soon as possible.
*The six research projects are:
Project SCR&Tox (Stem Cells for Relevant Efficient Extended and Normalized Toxicology), coordinated by Prof. Marc Peschanski, INSERM (France)
Project HeMiBio (Hepatic Microfluidic Bioreactor), coordinated by Prof. Catherine Verfaillie, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)
Project Detective, “Detection of endpoints and biomarkers of repeated dose toxicity using in vitro systems,” coordinated by Prof. Jürgen Hescheler, Universität zu Köln – Universitätsklinikum (Germany)
Project COSMOS, “Integrated In Silico Models for the Prediction of Human Repeated Dose Toxicity of COSMetics to Optimise Safety,” coordinated by Prof. Mark Cronin, Liverpool John Moores University (UK)
Project NOTOX, “Predicting long-term toxic effects using computer models based onsystems characterization of organotypic cultures," coordinated by Prof. Elmar Heinzle, Saarland University - Biochemical Engineering Institute (Germany)
Project ToxBank, “Supporting Integrated Data Analysis and Servicing of Alternative Testing Methods in Toxicology,” coordinated by Prof. Emilio Benfenati from Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (Italy) and Dr. Barry Hardy, Douglas Connect (Switzerland)