New liver cancer biomarker

Congratulations to SCAHT research group leader Prof. Luigi Terracciano and other collaborators of Prof. Michael N Hall at the University of Basel on their recent Nature publication (Hindupur et al 2018) describing the discovery of protein LHPP as a key tumor suppressor in mouse and human in vitro liver cancer cells; in patients, low levels of LHPP were associated with increased tumour severity and reduced overall survival. LHPP could thus be used as a highly useful biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer. See publication.

10th Anniversary of the Ecotox Centre

The use of bioassays to assess water quality has many advantages and the acceptance of bioassays has increased in recent years - a trend to which the Ecotox Centre has contributed through its work. For this reason, the Ecotox Centre organises a symposium on the occasion of its 10th anniversary on the topic of "Environmental monitoring with bioassays". The focus is on the use and opportunities of bioassays for the regulatory monitoring of surface waters and sediments in Switzerland. The aim of the event is to provide experts from environmental agencies, private companies and academia with more in-depth practical information. For further information visit this website.

EUSAAT 2018, 23 - 26 September 2018, Linz (A) - Abstract submission deadline: 31 May 2018

17th Annual Congress of the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EUSAAT). See further information.

CEFIC-LRI Award 2018 - Improved alignment of the AOP concept in toxicology with the needs of risk assessment

The European Chemical Industry Council(Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES), is offering a €100.000 award to support promising new research in the field of mammalian and environmental toxicology, with a specific focus on the improved alignment of the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept in toxicology with the needs of risk assessment. See further information.

OECD launches QSAR Toolbox version 4.2

5 February 2018 - OECD launches QSAR Toolbox version 4.2. The Toolbox is a software application intended to the use of governments, chemical industry and other stakeholders in filling gaps in (eco)toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals. For further information see this OECD website.

Bisphenol A: EU reduces limits for food contact materials

The EU Commission has published a new Regulation, to apply from 6 September 2018, that lowers the regulatory specific migration limit ('SML') for BPA in food contact materials from 0.6 to 0.05 mg/kg food and extends it to coating materials which are used to line food and drink cans. See also Q&A of the European Commission regarding Bisphenol A.

Draft guidance document for endocrine disruptors available for comments until 31 January 2018

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) are inviting interested parties to comment on the draft guidance document for identifying endocrine disruptors under EU legislation for pesticides and biocides.

This draft guidance, which was requested by the European Commission, has been developed by the two agencies with the support of the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). In 2017 EFSA and ECHA conducted two targeted consultations on initial versions of the draft guidance with experts representing Member States and with stakeholders from industry and NGOs. SCAHT Director Martin Wilks contributed to this exercise on behalf of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT). Following discussions with the European Commission, EFSA and ECHA are now inviting all interested parties to comment on the updated draft text by using the dedicated web form (links to EFSA and ECHA). The deadline for providing comments is 31 January 2018.

Season's Greetings

Dear friends and supporters of the SCAHT,

Two events of significant importance for the SCAHT highlighted our year 2017. The first was the visit by the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation to the SCAHT, the second the admission of the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz as a new collaborator institution of the SCAHT. Both events underline the recognition of the SCAHT as a successful research infrastructure in Switzerland and provide additional motivation to our research, education and regulatory toxicology efforts.

As we reflect on another positive and exciting year for the SCAHT we would like to thank you and your colleagues for your encouragement and support throughout the year. We wish you and your families a relaxing and peaceful festive season, and a very happy New Year 2018.

Martin Wilks and the SCAHT team

P. S. Please note that the SCAHT office will be closed from 23rd December 2017 until 2nd January 2018.

FHNW joins the SCAHT network as collaborator

SCAHT is dependent on the support of its partners, the universities of Basel, Geneva and Lausanne, who are represented in the highest decision making body, the SCAHT Foundation Council. As befits a network of research institutions, others may wish to join and for this a process of admission has been established. The School of Life Sciences of the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) already has collaborations with the SCAHT through the Molecular Toxicology group headed by Prof Laura Suter-Dick, and has expressed an interest to join the SCAHT network. The application was reviewed by the SCAHT Management Board and approved by the Foundation Council at its meeting in November, and the School has now been granted collaborator status, initially for a period of two years. At the end of this period, the Council will review the collaboration and take a final decision with regard to a future status as collaborator or partner.

EFSA BPA protocol endorsed

In December 2017, EFSA’s expert Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) discussed and endorsed a scientific protocol for the upcoming re-evaluation of Bisphenol A (BPA) hazards. The protocol is a detailed plan that defines upfront the scope, methodology and information needs before the assessment starts in 2018. The protocol was developed for the CEF Panel by an EFSA international working group including experts from Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, represented by Rex FitzGerald from the SCAHT. See further information.