Dear partners and friends of SCAHT,
As the year ends, we have already completed the first half of our current financial period. Thanks to your support, we have had a successful year across all our activities, in research, in supporting the authorities, and in our training programmes.
We would like to thank you for your valuable contributions this year and wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Your SCAHT team
SCAHT AOP on developmental neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration
A newly published Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) from the SCAHT network (Florianne Tschudi-Monnet and Rex FitzGerald) links chemical effects during brain development (chronic NMDA receptor inhibition) to impairment of learning and memory and Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration. Such AOPs will be important for both researchers and regulators. Further information.
New publication on quantitative risk assessment model for evaluating the safety of skin sensitizing plant protection products
Fruit of a collaboration between Federal Authorities and SCAHT researchers, this paper discusses a novel approach for quantitative risk assessment of the skin sensitizing potential of plant protection products. The proposed methodology combines the derivation of substance-specific thresholds (so-called Derived No-Effect Level, DNEL) for skin sensitizers and an agricultural exposure model used for assessing chronic health risks of plant protection products in an occupational context. In particular, the approach aims to more fully account for both potency and frequency of exposure in addition to the dose applied, which is to date the main regulatory decision criterion considered when evaluating skin sensitizers safety.
SCAHT as a hosting partner for international students
In September, SCAHT will be hosting a group of four international students from the US Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The students are evaluating what is required for approval of alternative test methods to animal experimentation, with the focus on nanomaterial safety assessment. As part of their stay, they will meet research organisations, industry and regulatory bodies in Switzerland, to conduct more research before they finalise their reports. Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, Co-Chair BioNanomaterials from the Adolphe Merkle Institute, Université de Fribourg, is coordinating the students' activities.
WHO establishes new process for quality, safety and efficacy assessment of vector control products
Vector-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue fever are major contributors to morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in developing countries. The use of insecticidal products has been instrumental in significantly reducing the global burden of disease from vector-borne diseases, and WHO has evaluated such products for more than 50 years under the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES). This scheme has now been replaced by a new process of prequalification of products in line with similar processes in WHO for medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and devices. An international expert team has been set up to support WHO in this process and SCAHT Director Martin Wilks has been invited to be a member of this team. The group met for the first time in Arusha, Tanzania in May. Further information can be found here.
Concensus on inflammation in AOPs
Arising from an expert meeting at the EU-JRC in September 2017, including SCAHT researcher Florianne Tschudi-Monnet, this paper provides a consensus on how to best represent inflammation in a way that is biologically appropriate yet is generalisable enough to facilitate AOP network connectivity; it thus represents a significant step forward in the evolution and application of the AOP framework. See publication.
MAS Toxicology (Geneva/Lausanne) - Registration until 15 June 2018
For graduates employed in a toxicological discipline who wish to obtain a recognized academic qualification in toxicology; fulfils the educational requirements of national and international professional bodies towards registration as a toxicologist.
September 2018 - June 2020 (modules can be taken individually). Registration deadline 15 June 2018. Further information.
Swiss Diagnostic Start-Up Day - Swissbiolabs Award 2018
Business ideas can be presented at the Swiss Diagnostics Start-Up Day 2018 to an expert jury and investors. This event will take place on Thursday, 21 June 2018 at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) in Olten, Switzerland. Application is open until 30 April 2018.
Every presented business idea will be rated by an expert jury. The best idea will be awarded with the "Swissbiolabs Award 2018". In addition, participants can profit from free office space, coaching programs, mentoring and networking. See further information.
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.