SCAHT Newsletter 01/2017

Start of new project "menuCH - What does the Swiss population eat?"

SCAHT is a co-investigator in a project led by the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, funded by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO. The project aims to characterise food consumption, dietary patterns and lifestyle in the Swiss language regions, and attempts to link these with health data. For further information see here.

Public consultation on BPA reassessment

As the first step in re-evaluating the safety of dietary Bisphenol A (BPA), a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expert working group, including Rex FitzGerald of the SCAHT regulatory group, has developed a methodology protocol to identify all relevant BPA data published since 2012. The protocol is open for public comments until 3 September 2017. See the EFSA press release for further information.

e.AOP.Portal launched by OECD

The OECD Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework identifies key events leading to adverse outcomes in humans and wildlife. It is an integral part of 21st century toxicology, and will lead to less uncertainty and less use of animals in assessing chemical hazards. OECD has launched the e.AOP.Portal, which informs on the status of AOPs, provides links to published AOPs in the OECD iLibrary, and allows browsing of AOP external review reports.

EAPCCT Congress in Basel

Nearly 400 physicians, poison information specialists and scientists from 45 countries met at the Congress Centre in Basel from 16 to 19 May for the 37th Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT). Key topics discussed included paracetamol poisoning, antidotes, toxicology of migration, anti-convulsant drugs, pre-hospital management of poisonings, pesticide toxicology, biomarkers, and social media in toxicology education. SCAHT was one of the sponsors of the meeting and SCAHT director Martin Wilks, President-elect of the EAPCCT, says: „It was a great privilege hosting this international meeting in Switzerland. We had an excellent scientific programme with key note lectures, debates and many free-standing oral and poster presentations.“

Research in SCAHT: Hepatotoxicity of tolcapone and entacapone

The group of Prof. Krähenbühl at the University Hospital of Basel characterized the effects of tolcapone and entacapone on mitochondrial function in human liver cell line and in freshly isolated mouse liver mitochondria. Both drugs uncoupled the oxidative phosphorylation and inhibited mitochondrial enzyme complexes. The study elucidated the mechanisms of severe liver injury in some patients treated with these drugs. Further information.

SCAHT Newsletter 04/2016

Season's Greetings

Dear friends and supporters of the SCAHT,
Just before the end of the year, we have received the great news of continued funding of our Centre through the Swiss Confederation. This success is the result of nearly two years of hard work by everyone involved. The core of our work over the next four years will be our strategic research programme. Together with regulatory toxicology and our educational efforts this is the basis for achieving our aim to build bridges between academic toxicological research and its application to regulatory decision making in the risk assessment and management of xenobiotics. 
The positive development of the SCAHT would not have been possible without the active contribution of you and your colleagues. For this, we would once again like to express our sincere thanks. 
We wish you and your families a peaceful and relaxing festive season and a very good start to the New Year 2017.

                   Martin Wilks and the SCAHT team

Planned EFSA assessment of Bisphenol A literature

Rex FitzGerald of the SCAHT Directorate has been nominated as a member of the European Food Safety Authority EFSA, Food Ingredients and Packaging (FIP) Working Group "BPA assessment protocol", which is working on a protocol for evaluating new scientific literature on Bisphenol A (BPA) published since the last risk assessment.

OECD/EFSA workshop on Developmental Neurotoxicity (DNT)

DNT has long been regarded as an area in need of new approaches to better detect and characterise hazardous chemicals in a time- and cost-efficient predictive manner using in vitro testing methods. On 18 & 19 October 2016 the OECD and EFSA jointly organised a workshop to further discuss the necessary steps to achieve this goal. SCAHT was represented by its director, Martin Wilks, and neurotoxicology specialist Florianne Tschudi-Monnet, University of Lausanne. A report of the meeting will be published in January 2017 in the OECD Series on Testing and Assessment and a summary perspectives paper will be submitted for publication in the peer-reviewed literature. Further information on the workshop including the presentations can be found here.

Research in SCAHT: Description of a new human 3D neural tissue model for neurotoxicity testing

The SCAHT research group of Prof Luc Stoppini at the HES-SO in Geneva has described a new 3D neural tissue model derived from human embryonic stem cells; this is the first human neural 3D model with multiple cell types (mature neurons, astrocytes and myelinating oligodendrocytes), enabling better modelling the living brain. 
The characterisation of this test system was a joint SCAHT collaboration with the group of Dr Florianne Tschudi-Monnet at the University of Lausanne. This model could in the future have important applications in in vitro testing for neurotoxicity of compounds. Further information on the publication.

SCAHT Newsletter 03/2016

Three SCAHT groups have taken up their work on NanoReg II

NanoReg II is an EU Horizon 2020 project that aims to develop grouping approaches for nanomaterials to support efficient regulation and to guide product development through Safe-by-Design processes. Within the scope of this project the SCAHT groups of Jörg Huwyler and Luc Stoppini are developing new in vitro and in vivo test systems to identify potential correlations between physicochemical properties of nanomaterials and their toxicological endpoints. The SCAHT Regulatory Toxicology group is working on identifying the need for nano-specific modifications in existing regulatory frameworks.

SCAHT at the 52nd EUROTOX Meeting

The SCAHT was well represented at the 52nd EUROTOX meeting which was held on 4 - 7 September 2016 in Seville, Spain. The theme was “Protecting public and environmental health by understanding and communicating toxicology”. Martin Wilks gave a presentation in the session on “Integrating epidemiology and experimental toxicology to improve pesticide risk assessment”. The group of Stephan Krähenbühl was represented in the poster session, as were the groups of Luc Stoppini and Florianne Tschudi-Monnet in a joint collaboration, as well as Alex Odermatt with two posters, one in collaboration with Serge Rudaz. See programme for further information. At the Business Council meeting Martin Wilks was elected to the EUROTOX Executive Committee for a 3-year period.

OECD launches landmark series on Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) on 20 September 2016

In collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency EPA and the European Commission Joint Research Centre JRC, the OECD launched its knowledge-base on AOPs in 2014. Now, two years later, the first five endorsed AOPs have been published in a new OECD series on Adverse Outcome Pathways, available free of charge on the OECD public website. These publications are the result of joint efforts between AOP developers and reviewers through an established OECD AOP development and review process. The first publication in the series is a Users’ Handbook providing guidance for developing AOPs. In the future, the publication of endorsed AOPs is foreseen on a yearly basis, following the cycle of annual reviews and publications. For more information, please visit the OECD website on AOPs.

Research in SCAHT: Integrating human and ecological data quality assessment frameworks

As part of the EU FP7 Coordination action HEROIC, Nicolas Roth (SCAHT) and Philippe Ciffroy (EDF) review in this paper existing frameworks designed to evaluate the reliability and relevance of ecotoxicological and toxicological information for their use in chemical risk assessment. Based on a comparative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of their individual assessment methodology, the authors identify gaps and needs to explore to which extent these schemes could serve as a model for developing a common eco-human data quality assessment system as an input to further support the development and promotion of the concept of Integrated Risk Assessment.