SCAHT joins WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network

The WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network is a voluntary collaborative initiative whose overall goal is to improve chemical risk assessment globally through facilitating sustainable interaction between institutions on chemical risk assessment issues and activities. It was launched in 2013 after a consultation phase overseen by an initial steering group in which SCAHT Director Martin Wilks participated. SCAHT has now formally been admitted as a network participant by Dr Maria Negri, Director of the WHO Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

The Network has been established to enhance global efforts to assess risks to human health from exposure to chemicals. The objectives of the Network are: 

  • Provide a forum for scientific and technical exchange;
  • Facilitate and contribute to capacity building;
  • Promote best practices and the harmonization of methodologies;
  • Assist in the identification of research needs and promote the application of new science in risk assessment practice;
  • Assist in the identification of emerging risks to human health from chemicals;
  • Share information about work programmes to avoid duplication of effort; and
  • Upon request, assist WHO in the development of training and other materials in support of the above.

Currently, the network includes 27 members from Europe, Asia and the Americas, including regulatory agencies such as the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations working in chemical risk assessment. The first face to face meeting will take place on 8 - 10 October 2014 and will be hosted by ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) at their premises near Paris.  For further information concerning the WHO chemical risk assessment network visit this website.

Talks by Prof. Bruce Blumberg in Basel, Lausanne and Geneva

On Wednesday, 19th March 2014 and on Friday, 21st March 2014 Professor Bruce Blumberg gave talks at the University of Basel, the UNIL Physiologie Lausanne and in Geneva. He is Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology at the University of California, Irvine, and holds several US patents on the PPARg receptor and on high throughput functional screening of cDNAs. The Blumberg laboratory investigates nuclear hormone receptors in development and disease, including the role of endocrine xenobiotics in the development of obesity and diabetes  ("obesogen hypothesis").

The talks were:

  • “B-1 Cell Lymphoma and Leukemia in Mice Lacking the Steroid and Xenobiotic Receptor SXR (NR1I2)”, Wednesday 19/03/2014, 5 - 6 p.m., University of Basel, Pharmazentrum.
  • “Transgenerational effects of prenatal obesogen exposure”, Friday 21/03/2014, 11:15 a.m., UNIL Physiologie Lausanne, and 4:15 p.m. in Geneva.

Message from the SCAHT Director

Welcome to our new SCAHT website! I am delighted to inform you that the SCAHT is entering a new and exciting phase in its development. Hosted by the University of Geneva and supported by the Universities of Basel and Lausanne, the 'Foundation of the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology' was officially registered with the Registre du Commerce de Genève on 18 February 2014. During its inaugural meeting, the newly created Foundation Council elected National Councillor Kathy Riklin as its President.

While maintaining our strong links with the participating universities, the new structure provides the legal framework and long-term stability for the SCAHT to pursue its mission of advising authorities, promoting research, and providing education and training in human toxicology and risk assessment.

We have taken the opportunity of our new status to redesign our visual identity and external presence, starting with a new website. This is not just a cosmetic exercise; we have completely revised the structure and updated the information provided. We hope that you will take the time to browse through the pages and discover something new and useful, and we are keen to have your feedback!

I would like to thank the SCAHT staff, researchers, teachers and external partners for the support and trust shown to us in the first years of our existence, and look forward to extending and strengthening our collaboration for the benefit of human health protection.

Martin Wilks
Director

Prof. Luc Stoppini receives additional support for development of alternatives to animal testing

As part of a collaboration between the Fondation E. Naef pour la recherche in vitro (FENRIV) and the Carlo Fund of the Philanthropia Foundation , Prof. Luc Stoppini (High school of landscape, engineering and architecture Geneva Hepia / HES-SO), winner of the FENRIV E. Naef prize in 2013 and member of the SCAHT research network, receives additional support for research on cell cultures to study the neurotoxicity of compounds  (more information in French). This work is currently being developed for international use by the biotechnology company Neurix SA , created in 2012 in Geneva.

Women's Health Congress

At the 10th Women's Health Congress, 9 - 10 January 2014 in Geneva, SCAHT co-organised a session on "Toxicology/Endocrine Disruptors"; speakers included Niels Skakkebaek (Copenhagen), Ariane Giacobino (Geneva), Simon Thomas (Newcastle UK), Linda Giudice (San Francisco), Tracey Woodruff (Oakland), and Richard Sharpe (Edinburgh). This was followed by a session on "Research gaps in clinical and basic knowledge" at WHO headquarters with plenary presentations by Marleen Temmerman and Maria Purificacion Neira (WHO). Further information.

ISTNET Workshop

SCAHT is a member of the steering committee of ISTNET, the International Stakeholder Network for creating a (Developmental) Neurotoxicity Testing Roadmap (further information).

An ISTNET (Developmental) neurotoxicity workshop was held on 23 - 24 January 2014 at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zürich, Irchel, Switzerland (further information) with an expert panel including representatives of regulatory bodies and test developers from academia and industry. This meeting is a starting point for discussion between scientists from academia and industry and scientists from regulatory bodies to define the requirements for in vitro NT/DNT toxicity tests ready for regulatory purpose.

Workshop on Nanomaterials

In collaboration with the Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology (Ecotox Centre), SCAHT organized a continuing education course entitled "Scientific basis for regulating nanomaterials“ on 20 - 21 January 2014 in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Presentations were given by Swiss and European regulators, researchers and industry representatives. They provided an overview on the status of nanoparticle regulation in Switerland and the EU and illustrated the limitations and challenges associated with the hazard and exposure measuring and modeling of nanomaterials. Further information.

CAAT EU-US Technical and Policy Workshops on Endocrine Disruptors

At a CAAT workshops in Brussels on 4-5 November 2013 (further workshop information), SCAHT chaired the session "Considerations in the future of endocrine disruptors; what could be the way forward?", and contributed to a meeting on “Hazard/Risk Assessment from the EU and the US perspectives” chaired by MEPs Vittorio Prodi and Sean Kelly, who co-initiated the Transatlantic Science Forum (more information).

Workshop on "Uncertainties in Risk Assessment"

SCAHT participated in an expert workshop entitled "Uncertainties in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment of Human Pharmaceuticals" on 24 - 25 October 2013 in Ravenstein, The Netherlands, organised by PHARMAS. PHARMAS is an EU FP7 Research Project (www.pharmas-eu.org) to assess the human and environmental risks posed by environmental exposure to human pharmaceuticals, particularly antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. The aim of the workshop was to identify, describe and assess uncertainties in risk assessment of human pharmaceuticals. The results of the workshop will be published.

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