SCAHT Newsletter 01/2015

SCAHT head office has moved

In April 2015 the SCAHT moved into new premises which are located at

Missionsstrasse 64
CH-4055 Basel

(telephone and email remain unchanged)

not too far from the old offices. Please feel free to drop by for a visit.





Participation in CAAT Meeting

SCAHT participated in "Meet your Scientist", the MEP-3Rs Scientists Pairing Scheme, in Brussels on 27 January 2015. The meeting, organised by the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing-Europe (CAAT-Europe), took place at the CAAT Europe office and the EU Parliament; industry and academic scientists networked and discussed with MEPs the use of alternatives to animal testing and new technologies to better ensure consumer protection while minimizing or replacing animal use.

Module 6 "Modelling Approaches in Regulatory Sciences" of CAS Programme

SCAHT wishes to announce its next course of the CAS Regulatory Sciences programme which will take place from 30th November to 4th December 2015 at the University of Basel. If you are interested in attending the module please let us know as soon as possible by contacting Further information and registration for the module will be available at a later date. 

Serge Rudaz and Youssef Daali nominated as members of the OECD expert group on biotransformation assays

SCAHT contributes to the development of the OECD test guideline program in the new area of in vitro biotransformation assays. SCAHT research leaders Serge Rudaz and Youssef Daali participated in an Expert Group Meeting on Biotransformation Assays, 11 - 12 May 2015 at OECD, Paris. They discussed comments on the draft Test Guideline on human derived hepatic systems for biotransformation and toxicity of chemicals by induction of CYP-450.

Research in SCAHT: SCAHT contribution to safety evaluation of nano-materials published

The key findings of a workshop jointly organized by the Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology, the SCAHT and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) have been published. The paper provides a critical analysis of the current regulatory framework for nanomaterials and a snapshot of some hot topics in nanoscience. Further information.

SCAHT Newsletter 05/2014 (December 2014)

Season's Greetings

The year 2014 has seen momentous changes for the SCAHT. In February the 'Foundation of the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology' was officially registered with the Registre du Commerce de Genève, giving the SCAHT its legal framework for the future. In November we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the SCAHT. In between, SCAHT staff and members have been busier than ever with research and regulatory projects, teaching and contributions to national and international activities in human health risk assessment. From all of us at SCAHT, a big thank you for making our anniversary year a great one! We wish you and your families a peaceful Christmas and a very happy New Year 2015, and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration.

Happy 5th Birthday, SCAHT!

Five years ago, with an inaugural symposium on 19 November 2009 in Geneva, the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology was born. To celebrate its 5th birthday, SCAHT held an anniversary symposium on 14 November 2014 in Basel, at the annual meeting of the Swiss Society of Toxicology. Toxicologists and honored guests listened to welcoming words from National Councillor Prof. Kathy Riklin, Prof. Stefan Krähenbühl, co-founder of the SCAHT, and Prof. Martin Wilks, the SCAHT director.  Keynote lectures were given by Prof. Alan Boobis and Prof. Angelo Moretto, both members of the SCAHT Science Advisory Board, and SCAHT Research Group Leaders presented overviews of their work on neuroinflammation, nanoparticle drug delivery, human steroid profiling, and development of in vitro cell cultures to replace animal testing. 

First graduate of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Regulatory Sciences

SCAHT and the University of Basel are delighted to announce that Maria Eugenia Pagano, from Syngenta Brazil, is the first student to be awarded the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Regulatory Sciences. During the period October 2012 to September 2014, Maria successfully completed 5 modules from the programme. Maria was presented with her certificate via teleconference by the Head of Research & Development at Syngenta, Trish Malarkey, and the SCAHT Director Prof. Martin Wilks. We would all like to wish Maria continued success in the future.

Participation in Annual EPAA Conference

SCAHT attended the 10th annual conference of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal testing (EPAA) on the 19th November in Brussels. Over 100 stakeholders from academia, NGOs, industry and EU institutions attended the event to discuss how to facilitate the use of alternative methods by regulators. It is one of the objectives of the SCAHT to foster a collaborative working relationship between Swiss regulatory authorities and SCAHT researchers who also develop alternative testing methods.

Research in SCAHT: Bisphenol A - Why an adverse outcome pathway framework needs to be applied

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most widely used and extensively studied chemicals. Numerous studies have reported in vitro effects or animal adverse findings at BPA doses lower than the no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) established in regulatory toxicity studies and used for human health risk assessment. Intensive discussions on the adequacy and relevance of test systems have not satisfactorily resolved whether positive or negative animal and/or in vitro findings are more relevant for human health risk assessment purposes. In this article for a special issue of Toxicology Letters on 'Environmental contaminants and target organ toxicities', SCAHT regulatory toxicologists Rex FitzGerald and Martin Wilks argue that a structured approach like the OECD Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework is needed to help researchers in designing relevant studies, and risk assessors in evaluating them. Establishing AOPs for BPA, and other endocrine active chemicals, will require major scientific as well as training investments by all responsible stakeholders. Further information.

SCAHT Newsletter 04/2014 (October 2014)

5th Anniversary of the SCAHT

On 14 November 2014 (at the Swiss Society of Toxicology annual meeting) we will hold a Symposium in Basel to mark the 5th anniversary of SCAHT. The SCAHT president, National Councillor Prof. Kathy Riklin, and the co-founder of the SCAHT, Prof. Stephan Krähenbühl, will give welcome addresses. Prof. Alan Boobis, Imperial College London, and Prof. Angelo Moretto, University of Milan, both members of the Science Advisory Board, have kindly agreed to give keynote lectures, and four of the SCAHT Group Leaders will give presentations on SCAHT core research projects. Please see the programme for further details. Register here.

SCAHT invited to give a spotlight session at the 14th annual AgChem-Forum

Lothar Aicher, Regulatory Toxicology Expert at the SCAHT, gave a spotlight lecture entitled „Integrated Risk Assessment – Can we do more with less?“ at the 14th annual AgChem-Forum in Barcelona, Spain, on 9 - 10 September 2014. The presentation was based on the insights gained from the EU FP-7 project HEROIC on integrated risk assessment, which is coordinated by the SCAHT and was part of a session with the focus on the development and implementation of alternative predictive methods for evaluating toxicology and exposure.

50th EUROTOX Congress

The 50th anniversary congress of EUROTOX took place in Edinburgh from 7 – 10 September 2014. Over 1400 delegates attended the symposia, workshops, roundtable discussions and poster sessions under the general theme of ‘Advancing science for human & environmental health’. The abstracts of the congress are published in a special issue of Toxicology Letters. SCAHT director Martin Wilks was re-elected for a further 3 year period to the EUROTOX sub-committee on education which he also chairs.

EFSA Scientific Colloquium N°21: Harmonisation of human and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals

Following the EUROTOX congress, some 120 delegates from regulatory bodies, industry and academia met for two days to discuss how the approaches to risk assessment in human and environmental risk assessment could be further harmonised in particular with regard to mixtures. The keynote lectures can be found on the EFSA website. Four discussion groups debated the approaches in the areas of hazard assessment, exposure assessment, modelling/new tools and uncertainty factor. A full report of the meeting is expected early next year.

OECD launches AOP-Wiki

25 September 2014: The OECD announces, together with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Adverse Outcome Pathway Knowledge Base (AOP KB). This is a web-based platform which aims to bring together all knowledge on how chemicals can induce adverse effects, therefore providing a focal point for AOP development and dissemination. The first AOP KB module is the AOP Wiki: an interactive and virtual encyclopaedia for AOP development (details here).

Research in SCAHT: Hepatocellular toxicity of benzbromarone

This study describes the effects of benzbromarone on important mitochondrial metabolic pathways, and the functional and morphological consequences when these pathways are inhibited. The study therefore provides the mechanistic explanation for the clinical observation that some patients develop severe liver injury when treated with benzbromarone. Two SCAHT research groups were involved in this study: the group of S. Krähenbühl performed the functional studies and the group of A. Odermatt the ROS measurements. Furthermore, the group of P. Jenö performed the morphological analyses. Further information.